Gransnet forums

News & politics

Care Crisis

(50 Posts)
JessM Tue 31-Jan-17 18:34:17

Some of you may have noticed on the front page of today's Mail that a junior Tory health minister David Mowatt, has said families need to stop expecting the state to fund care and do more themselves. This is interesting given the massive cut to care funding that this government have implemented, just at a time when increasing numbers of vulnerable people need help.
And very many of them do not have relatives around the corner (relatives with no other responsibilities), or wealthy children who can pay for care.

Luckygirl Tue 31-Jan-17 19:01:51

I am all for families doing what they can - but the ageing population now consists of many many people whose needs cannot be dealt with by family and who need professional help. And the steady rise in pension age (particularly for women) means that those who might have been around to help are now at work instead.

The care system is undoubtedly in crisis and basically it needs some money thrown at it by the state. Good care is very very expensive. Or else they need to provide a living wage for those who take early retirement to care for family members; and a guarantee that their pensions will not be affected.

Lazigirl Tue 31-Jan-17 19:18:18

Many elderly parents have elderly children, who do not necessarily live in close proximity, or who are working themselves, or looking after GCs so parents can go to work to pay mortgage. We can't return to days when many lived all together in extended families, and I'm quite sure many families are already caring for elderly family members and saving the government millions in care costs. It is a cop out instead of putting an injection of cash into the care system which it badly needs.

Christinefrance Tue 31-Jan-17 19:30:37

Things have changed so much now as Lazigirl says, there is often not the option of families caring for each other. Another problem of course is the fractured family where there is no capability or inclination to help.
We do need more cash in the care system but only if it is used correctly and not on big salaries or admin. County Councils need to take back their care homes from the private sector where in the main this has not been a success.

Witzend Tue 31-Jan-17 20:44:31

Many families already do their damnedest to care for their elderly, but for various reasons already pointed out it's not always possible.
Politicians who I suspect often don't have a clue about the realities, seem to love piously telling us how we should care for our old people.

Lack of family care is often given as the reason why too many elderly end up bed blocking in hospitals. So it's worth pointing out that some people end up in hospital BECAUSE they have stubbornly refused the help they badly need.

I have heard of many cases where relatives who are unable to do very much themselves, maybe because they live too far away, have tried hard to arrange help, only to have the person concerned refuse to allow carers into the house.
And unless someone has been shown to lack capacity, help cannot be forced upon them.

M0nica Tue 31-Jan-17 22:29:10

The government that wants families to look after their elderly is also the government that expects all adults to be in paid employment.

Could we be told how some of the politicians who want families living long distances from their parents and with all adult members of the household working. manage with caring for their elderly family members?

JessM Tue 31-Jan-17 22:41:11

Yes my late MIL stayed hung on in her own home by the skin of her teeth. None of her kids lived anywhere near and they all had onerous jobs. One or other of us would spend the weekend with her (shared task between 4 fortunately - but still a big chunk of time) She needed a carer to come in a couple of times a day plus someone to do all the housework as she was very infirm and could do little for herself beyond getting herself to the loo and putting a ready meal in the microwave. And she had one really great friend who used to check on her every weekday evening. Without all this help she would have had to be in a nursing home - a much more expensive option.

morethan2 Tue 31-Jan-17 22:42:14

My sentiments entirely Luckygirl I would have been more than capable and happy to help look after my MiL in her last few years. Unfortunately we had to 'get on our bike'. And move 200 miles away from our family for work in the 80's. Then they raised my retirement age and her daughters so that it was impossible for us to care for her. She had been living very unhappily in an expensive care home up until a few weeks ago when she was admitted to hospital and became very frail. The care home couldn't take her back and so she bed blocked for a few weeks more. The cost to the tax payer must have been astronomical. David Mowatt obviously has no idea of the real world we mere mortal live in or he's talking out his arse nonsense. We loved her ffs seeing her so unhappy means the guilt will blight her daughters life. Maybe I should invite him to her funeral next week and he can talk to an ordinary family about the dilemmas we were forced to face.

Lazigirl Tue 31-Jan-17 22:44:16

Hard luck on anyone who didn't have the foresight to have any kids.

Iam64 Wed 01-Feb-17 08:58:22

These comments from the junior Health Minister irritated me. Most families do their best to support elderly parents or relatives. That was my experience as a social worker and remains so in my family and friendship group.

Some 'children' are themselves in their 70's and pulled in both directions with parents in their 90's along side the need to support their own adult children by caring for grandchildren so parents can earn the money to keep their family afloat.

When I was a young social worker in the late 70's and 80's, we had decent services to help keep older people living at home. The meals on wheels driver called every day, we had day centres, home helps etc. The cuts leave many elderly people isolated in their homes. It's now much more difficult to get a bed in a residential care home, which is good except for the lack of services that help keep people in their own home.

My mum inlaw had end of life care locally. I'd wanted to care for mum in law but the doctors (quite rightly )said she would need 24 hour nursing. The nursing home was owned by sisters of Indian origin. They said their initial belief that British people don't look after their elderly as do Indian families was soon demolished by the evidence before their eyes.
The junior health minister is only concerned about the public purse. The public purse could afford to support the vulnerable of any age, it's a question of priorities. Slagging of families is just not the right way to approach this.

JessM Wed 01-Feb-17 09:04:11

Article on ageing without children.
My kids have both emigrated - and there are lots of us in that category too.

annsixty Wed 01-Feb-17 09:43:24

I was an only child and lived 70 miles away from my mother.
She was a very demanding and "entitled" woman.I was 70 when she died. No way could I have had her living with me. My H also would not have had her here.
These are the uncomfortable but very true reasons why she spent her last few years in a residential home.

GillT57 Wed 01-Feb-17 10:40:54

Yet another example of the public being blamed for the financial implications of the cuts to social car and the NHS. It is a litany of blame from migrants to the ageing population. The ageing population should not have come as a surprise to government; there was a post war baby boom and now they are getting old. We have not flown in planes full of pensioners needing medical and social care.

gillybob Wed 01-Feb-17 10:50:28

I heard this on the radio yesterday and felt so angry about it.

I honestly (hand on heart) don't think I could do a thing more than I already do/have done. I have spent my entire life (I am 55) looking after family members. My grandma, my mum, my dad, my own children, my grandchildren.... not to mention looking in on other more distant and even non-relatives.

I am one of the sandwich generation who have almost always had responsibilities for the oldest and youngest members of the family and wonder if the government might stop and think maybe just once in a while I might want a life of my own too?

I appreciate that there are people who could do more but choose not to, but for heavens sake, "give us a break" angry

I am also terrified at the thought of the "green light" that central government have handed local government to raise council taxes on the back of social care. My council tax is already crippling and I am genuinely worried about the new bill when it comes in.

gillybob Wed 01-Feb-17 10:51:27

Ooops should have said entire adult life !

goldengirl Wed 01-Feb-17 11:13:26

I was 200 miles away from my mother and managed to establish a care package for her so that she could stay in her own home. I also tried to organise home dental and eye care but she always cancelled those appointments. When she had problems with her tablets [doctor didn't consider effects of new prescriptions on her current dosages] and went a bit doolally it was only thanks to neighbours that help was found. Being less mobile myself it was really difficult to get down to see her and then trog around agencies. She refused point blank to come near us [we didn't get on well enough to live with each other]and I can understand that but oh dear it made life very difficult. It annoys me intensely that ministers want us to do more forgetting that we have our own families; older people may not want to move etc etc. Government is great on words and surveys but not on proper realistic support. As for raising council tax...............angry

JessM Wed 01-Feb-17 11:39:42

The council tax rises are very unfair because a 2% rise in Kensington and Chelsea (where there is very little need for council care) would bring in loads more money than it would in a poorer borough, which would inevitably have many more people needing help.
The other 21st century problem is a consequence of divorce, small families and longer lifespans. Quite possible to have a retired person having three or four of the older generation to support - and nobody else around to help them.

gillybob Wed 01-Feb-17 11:46:30

Exactly JessM I live in quite a very poor borough where most of the jobs relied on the mines, heavy industry and ship building all long since disappeared. We have a higher than average elderly population relying on benefits. The result being that those of us who do work and pay council tax are having to pay ever more to make up for those who cannot/are unable to. How can it be fair when a rich borough such as K&C pay relatively less for a multi million pound property than I do for my tiny 2 bedroom terrace?

I am genuinly very worried about the prospect of a huge rise, which we (and many like us) will not be-able to afford.

Lazigirl Wed 01-Feb-17 13:26:21

I feel so angry that all the families who care for the elderly can be disparaged in this way, but I think it's a warning that there will be no more funding from the state for social care, and as has been said, passing the burden to local councils is very unfair. What really worries me is that when social care and health care are amalgamated, local councils will have a greater burden, and there will be a health care post code lottery. Social care is already privatised, health care is going the same way sadly.

gillybob Wed 01-Feb-17 13:38:17

"quite a very poor borough* what on earth are you talking about woman? confused

Iam64 Wed 01-Feb-17 13:40:22

We need an effective opposition, we need parties people believe can challenge this government effectively and provide a strong, representative government at the next election.

Hilltopgran Wed 01-Feb-17 13:40:55

Another example of a thoughtless remark by someone who should know better. Most families provide whatever support they can to family members, but there will always be exceptions, family breakdown, people without relatives, etc. We care for Mum at home for 8 years until she was just too difficult to manage and happily used her own money from the sale of her bungalow to pay a top up so she could live in a home where she thought she was in a hotel and really enjoyed her surroundings. Not everyone sees it as we did, but it was her money to be spent on the best we could find for her remaining lifetime.

So sad to see our system breaking as it is, but would the public agree to a complete overhaul of the system to one that can be afforded. My family living abroad with an insurance system funding their health care can see a GP on the day, and a Consultant within the week.

M0nica Wed 01-Feb-17 16:55:49

I was made redundant into early retirement in my early 50s. Just as an elderly family member needed support. In all, over the next 20 years I took responsibility for four different households where elderly family members were failing.

Except for one 8 week period I never had to look after anyone daily in their home, but I dealt with crises, got people into care, dealt with emptying and selling property, dealing with financial affairs and regular visiting for people in care living up to 125 miles away.

I was only able to do this because I was not working. If I had been still working full time, it would have been impossible and what would have happened to our family members I do not know.

I wish one of these smart-arse minsters would try juggling their job as government ministers with looking after an elderly failing relative living 70 miles from London, even if only for a month. It might stop them making the stupid suggestions like this.

Takingthemick Wed 01-Feb-17 16:56:25

As usual, such sensible replys on here. Maybe we should forward these to this nice junior Tory minister David Mowatt with copies to the Prime Minister demanding he apologises. I may not have much power as a retired person but it does give me the time to write letters to the people with some power. I am sick of being brainwashed into thinking everything is our fault. When I was working and my tax and contributions were deducted there was no mention then of cutting services to NHS and social care.

Takingthemick Wed 01-Feb-17 17:06:26

I just looked at this guys web page and comments regarding his recent views on care for the elderly OMG people are incensed. He is getting a lambasting, must get back to it and add my views then get on to Teresa's site for same.