Elderly Care In The Spotlight
People are becoming increasingly concerned about the care that their elderly relatives receive. An online survey by the Good Care Guide revealed that 71% of those who provided feedback were concerned with care homes and private agencies. A significant number of people (23%) believed that their elderly relatives receive a sub-standard care from a homecare agency. Quality and safety standard inspectors support these findings. They have discovered that standards are not being met by 25% of homecare services. However, the major concern, which was indicated by 84% of the contributors to the Good Care Guide, was the cost and quality of care for the elderly.
More Cut- Backs
Due to elderly care cut backs by the government, local authorities have felt obliged to reduce their spending on homecare services for the elderly. Unfortunately, many elderly people are receiving short visits of around 15 minutes, and carers differ from one visit to the next. The effect is that the relationship between the elderly person and carer does not develop into one of trust and understanding, nor is the elderly person receiving the level of care they require.
The Current Situation and Costs
Presently, for those that need home help for things like washing and meals, the cost to them is based on their wealth - excluding the value of their home. Therefore, if a person has savings of less than £14k, she can expect to receive free care. Where savings exceed £23k, the individual is expected to pay for her costs. For those that meet the criteria for residential care, the costs incurred to them aren't merely based on their liquid assets - it also includes the cost of their home. This often results in those that receive residential care being forced to sell their home in order to pay for charges incurred.
Government Reforms on Elderly Care
In February 2013, the UK Government capped care costs to £75k, whereby the government will fund costs exceeding this level. However, this cap will not come into play until 2017. In addition, the means testing of an individual's savings has been lifted to £123k when considering government funding for residential care costs.
The elderly cannot necessarily expect to rely on their children for support. As life expectancy increases, their own children may also be aged, deceased, or unable to care for themselves - let alone their elderly parents.
In addition, in order for elderly folk to ensure that they don't run the risk of losing their home, even under these reforms, they may need to take out private insurance to cover the cost of the £75k cap.
The Outlook looks bleak
Latest reforms do nothing to tackle the problems faced by elderly people and the care they receive. This often entails missed or rushed appointments, and inaccurate and incomplete assessment keeping, which means that crucial health problems are often overlooked. The case of an 81-year-old woman that hit the news earlier this year, merely serves as an example of how bad things have become. She had been left for 9 days without food, drink, and medicine, and subsequently died.
There have been many incidents across the UK, whereby poor standards of care have resulted in the untimely death of hundreds of people. The care system needs money injected into it, proper monitoring, and adequate training and guidelines provided to the carers. Ultimately, the future looks bleak for elderly folk. For elderly people that are living in poverty, the latest reforms will make no difference. The situation for our elderly will only continue to worsen unless appropriate changes are made.
Bio Author Profile
Kathy and Gaj Ragunathan possess over 20 years experience in private residential nursing care, specialising in senior care and cater for those with mild dementia. They are responsible for the everyday running of Ashton Grange and Ashton Leigh nursing care homes in Horsham, West Sussex.