Caring for an older generation

18 June 2018

Caring for an older generation will not improve until information about care services and all related factors are freely and visually available.

As a care provider of 38 years we are experienced on not only how we provide our own live-in care services but on how other related professionals and organisations offer care, information, advice and guidance.

Many older people and their families make decisions about their care at a time of crisis and unfortunately many such decisions are later regretted. To make a choice about an older person’s remaining years, information is the one powerful tool that will enable the right choice to be made for the individual.  Sadly, the ability to easily access such information is lacking.

As part of the volunteer role we offer to older people’s organisations, clubs and associations we give free presentations around the subject of health and care based on stories and history to make the time entertaining to the members. At the end of each presentation we are happy to answer practical questions about care today across the wide spectrum of the sector. Usually there is a queue that forms.

The overwhelming message we take from these sessions is that the knowledge about what is available, entitlements, the cost, what is free, financial help and products and simply where to go is largely unknown.

Those who have experience of care, usually through a family member, again, have little knowledge of the system and it often appears that they have been left without information which would complement the care they have experience of and make, in many cases, their lives easier.

The prospect of needing care is one that no one wants to think about but the reality is that some of us will require care support. To make this adjustment from being independent to a position where a person is dependent on others should be made as painlessly as possible and having some control of this time in a person’s life is made easier with information that can lead to choices being made. 

What can be done to improve this situation?

Leaflets are available but not succinct.

A better leaflet could have, for example, a list of subjects related to elderly care which offer contact details, (telephone numbers, helpline info, website details) to call or visit for a range of older care information. Libraries, hospitals, GP surgeries, community halls, chemists all could have the same leaflet, the branding becoming common knowledge and easy to recognise.

Public sector advertising could play a large part especially as many older people watch day time television and listen to the local radio. 

To provide such information would be a low-cost project but one of immense value.