Why call it care when no one cares
Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton set up a Homecare and support service 4 years ago because we kept getting told by local older people that they were not happy with the services that were currently on offer. Four years later and it appears that we made the right decision; older people are still disappointed with other care providers. A new report published by Age UK called ‘Why call it care when no one cares?’ summarises the results of a series of listening events held with older people who are receiving care and their family carers. The same five issues came up over and over again:
- ‘Too many professional carers are in a rush and there’s no continuity’
Many participants complained about rushed, ‘tick-box’ home care visits from paid carers and a lack of continuity, so they never got the chance to build a relationship or even establish proper communication. Older people weren’t receiving ‘person-centred care’; indeed what they got was sometimes not ‘care’ at all.
- ‘Care often it isn’t very good’
The majority of people highlighted the poor quality of care that they or their family members received. One participant had resorted to putting signs around her husband’s care home room to remind the staff to do basic things like leave him a drink within reach.
- ‘Social care is very expensive and often not good value for money’
The high cost of social care is crippling families and older people financially. Those who had to pay for their care were shocked by the prices – for example, £25 an hour for home care in one constituency outside London. When people were entitled to free care and took it up they often found it wasn’t a decent standard so they had to ‘top it up’.
- ‘Family carers feel abandoned and unsupported by the NHS and social care’
Family carers wanted to do right by their loved ones, but they all agreed that it had to be voluntary. Those caring for parents or partners with dementia in particular often said they felt out of their depth and ‘dumped on’, struggling without enough basic help or specialist dementia support. One person explained how caring for his wife had led him to have a breakdown because he simply couldn’t cope 24/7.
- ‘The social care system is dysfunctional and navigating it is a nightmare’
Almost everyone had struggled to find out how to arrange care. People were confused about what care is available, who provides it and how it is funded. Many had wrongly assumed care would be provided free by the NHS.
There were often delays in receiving information and in assessing older people. Horror stories emerged of people with dementia locking themselves out, setting fire to their kitchens, or going days without food while waiting to be assessed.
Thankfully Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton continues to address all of these issues through its Homecare service, Information and Advice and extensive range of support services for local older people. Call us on 01704 542 993 for advice or 01704 503356 for high quality Homecare.