This post focuses on issues discussed on InsideOut (yorks & Links) If you’d like to watch the programme, click here
Who’s going to pay for care when we get old?
This is an issue I’ve covered before, especially from a personal perspective. It’s not just old people who need care, all sorts of people do, myself included. (If you’d like to read some of my experiences, follow this link.) However, this Monday, InsideOut didn’t mention this even in passing but chose to concentrate on Older people’s mental health, and alternative provision of care. I wasn’t surprised to learn that 1 in 4 older people suffer from depression. These numbers will rise in the coming years due to the impact of financial worries and poorer health, people live longer, and so acquire more health problems. A woman called Christine Cook who suffers from depression says, “I don’t know who I am”. She talked of losing your identity once you retire. It’s the same for people who can’t work as it is hard to carve out a life in between hospital appointments, fatigue, medication regimes, and so on. These comparisons were not made in the program, so I felt an opportunity was lost. Christine continued by saying that the things she struggles with most is loneliness, money worries and health issues — welcome to my life, too!
The combination of physical disease occurring from old age and mental health difficulties makes it hard to diagnose anxiety and depression because both can have similar physical symptoms. It’s an unknown problem which has been little understood until recent years. Other issues are things like loss of physical function. None of this is news to me, like having to find things to do with your days, or it makes you feel worse. Finding your own solutions was mentioned as well… but I’ve had to do that too, to a certain extent. Not belittling anything their case study person has been through, but none of it sounds like rockets science to me. Time will tell what kind of co-odinated approach comes out of the research and trials covered in the program.
Who will care, and who will pay?
Hartrigg Oaks is an example of care, but not as it’s been done before — a new kind of partnership which takes away responsibility from the state, but the state is hardly facing up to the challenges anyway. The community is a mixture of older people, and younger, older people! The younger people help with maintaining the gardens, and I think, doing some of the care of those who can’t manage any longer, and in so doing earn points which build up and may be used to ‘pay’ for care if and when their health deteriorates. Again it wouldn’t work for everyone, but is worth watching.
Care is a Political minefield, in terms of paying for it, according to David Blunkett. Paying for care without public money is an interesting idea, and the program covered a couple of possible options– home-shares, something called share and care. Iona, and Graham live in Iona’s home. Graham lives rent free, but gives some care, about 10 hours a week looking after the garden, doing the shopping and so forth. Neat idea!! The journalist admits it wouldn’t work for everyone, partly cos there needs to be a specific kind of bond there but it seems to work great for them! Something so niche seems to solve the problem for some people but if it’s not solving care issues for more than just a few there has to be other alternatives.
Blunkett’s talked about Partnership and joined up working; care ring and all those things… these things may sound like gobbledygook for you, but I’m thinking, why is this just focusing on elderly care? The ‘care’ crisis affects many others. CUTS — in rhetoric at least means care has to come from elsewhere but InsideOut’s research shows some interesting solutions. I look forward to seeing what will happen in the long-term but there has to be a cost-effective way of caring for more people otherwise schemes will only reach a select few and the government will end up paying for care anyway. Not even they know how they will pay for it … surely time is running out?
- New ways to care for older people (bbc.co.uk)