Older people who needed care in the past would rely on their families, friends and neighbours to provide the support they needed.
In more recent times, preventative help was provided by the old Home Help system and to avoid a return for people discharged from hospital, convalescent care was freely available.
All the above care was provide by people who could be of any age, but were kind, decent, had common sense, minimum training and a desire to help another person who had a need to be cared for.
Older people who had specific, high dependency care or medical needs would be cared for by appropriate professionals and services.
The majority of older people need low dependency care, preventative care, care that can be provided by people who can cook good food, provide personal care with sensitivity and tact, provide clean clothes and bed linen, perhaps enable a person to go outside for a while and can communicate socially on a one to one level not just a few everyday phrases offered by a carer as they perform tasks on a care plan.
Nations throughout the world are trying to seek solutions to an increasing number of elderly people. Vast amounts of money have been spent on consultations, seminars, conferences, trials, workshops, round tables, etc.
Training programs for care workers are numerous. Randomly going online I came across one company offering approximately 50 social care training packages at an average cost of £200.00 per course.
Media in any country advises of a shortage of care workers in the future, again large amounts of money is spent discussing the situation. The conclusions that come out are 'the need to upgrade the professional image of caring', the need to ‘increase wages of the care staff’ laudable and a fact in itself, but the reality is that it cannot be afforded currently, so it is just words.
Would not the common sense answer be to look at people who do not wish to attend training program after training program for which they receive a piece of paper with the knowledge that they will need to go through ‘refresher’ training on the same thing in a couple of years? Would it not be common sense to look for people who can and do want to offer low level care, domestic, personal and social and encourage them to enter the care industry and receive if necessary appropriate training for that level of care provision? The DBS checks that are legally required would be necessary and acceptable and references, properly requested and verified would provide a further necessary check.
The main employers of low level carers would be the 6,000 home care agencies in the UK and I could see a danger in that unscrupulous companies may use such staff by placing them with clients whose needs they are unable to meet. However, the care assessment levels in the UK are well known: low, moderate, substantial and crucial and both CQC and Council inspections could easily check that no carer placement abuse had taken place.
Common sense indicates that this could be a sustainable way forward, is it not worth a try?