Can robots solve the care crisis?

robotAt Age UK, we regularly have discussions about the sorts of things that need to happen to bring about an end to the care crisis once and for all. One of the suggestions (normally with tongue at least partly in cheek) is that we all simply need a robot.

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Who should get social care?

Scene from a care homeAge UK is urging older people, their families and carers, to add their voice to the national eligibility criteria consultation to help ensure it is set at a fair level. In this blog post we tell you why it is so important to get involved.

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Carers Week: Suzy’s story (part 2)

This week is Carers Week – a time to celebrate the contribution of the 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. It is also the moment when several charities, including Age UK, come together to call for better support for carers.

Suzy shares her story of being a carer. In part 1, Suzy explained what it’s like to care for her mother with dementia. Today, she explains about the challenges of getting the support she needs.

The difficulties we face in caring for Mum come when we seek help from outside our home when the services that are offered seem to be one size fits all.

We have been offered respite care. This means Mum going into a local care home. This would mean Mum being away from us in a building she doesn’t know with people she doesn’t know.

Mum would not settle in this environment, I know that. We would also run the risk that Mum would not remember her own home on return from respite care.

Continue reading “Carers Week: Suzy’s story (part 2)”

Carers Week: Suzy’s story (part 1)

This week is Carers Week – a time to celebrate the contribution of the 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. It’s also the moment when several charities, including Age UK, come together to call for better support for carers.

In the first part of our 2-part blog, Suzy shares her story of what it’s like to be carer.

I am a carer for my Mum who is 67 years old and lives with dementia. Of course I wouldn’t normally describe myself as that; I’m just a daughter who loves her Mum.

I have a wonderful family who care for each other deeply. We all live together in Chepstow: Mum, Dad, my husband, 2 children and I in a multi-generational home.

You know how sometimes you look at your child/niece/nephew/grandchild and have a glimpse of how they are suddenly looking older, more grown up? Sometimes I look at Mum and see her gently moving further away in her dementia. Not every time I see her, just sometimes.

Continue reading “Carers Week: Suzy’s story (part 1)”

Campaign win: Government moves to protect older people’s human rights

Last week the Care Bill received royal assent. Let’s mark the occasion by reflecting on the successes that we have achieved, the changes to the social care system and the measures that will help older people with care needs to live with dignity.

One of the changes that is particularly positive was only agreed in the very final
stages of the parliamentary process. During the exciting-sounding ‘ping pong’ where the two Houses are required to agree each other’s changes to the Bill, a
Government amendment was accepted that closes a loophole in human rights law; a change that Age UK has campaigned for a number of years.

Currently, whether you are covered by the Human Rights Act when receiving care services depends on what that service is, how it is funded and who arranges it. Publicly funded or arranged residential care is covered. Privately arranged
and funded residential care is not. That means two people living in the same care home could have different levels of protection under the law. When it comes to domiciliary care, there is no direct coverage at all. This means that human rights abuses could be taking place with no option for redress. Continue reading “Campaign win: Government moves to protect older people’s human rights”

Behind Closed Doors – why do older people still experience such poor care?

Sadly, through working on a campaign like Care in Crisis at Age UK, I’ve heard plenty of horror stories of older people experiencing poor levels of care at a time when they are most vulnerable. But even I was shocked at what BBC’s Panorama uncovered in their programme on care homes, Behind Closed Doors, this week.

Neglect, bullying and taunting, being ignored, rough treatment and even outright assault: this is what was found during secret filming in more than one care home. It left me feeling upset, distressed and angry. How is it that this sort of thing can still take place in 21st-century Britain?

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#nomakeupselfie: Where are the older women?

Photo: sunshine city (Creative Commons)

Social media has experienced another one of its phenomena over the past couple of weeks – the #nomakeupselfie. Thousands upon thousands of women have been posting photos of themselves on Facebook without make-up. Initially aiming to raise awareness of cancer, this movement, if it can be called that, has led to donations in their millions for the UK’s cancer charities.

It feels like this activity has reached its peak and is beginning to quieten down, with the inevitable analysis taking place about how it happened, how charities jumped on it, and whether it was truly a force for good. But there seems to be one question that no-one has yet asked in all of this: where were the older women?

Certainly, in my experience of the #nomakeupselfie, I did not see any older women. The oldest selfie that appeared on my Facebook feed was from a woman in her forties. Why was it that a campaign emerged to raise awareness of a disease that predominantly affects older people without any involvement from them? Continue reading “#nomakeupselfie: Where are the older women?”