More support in retirement communities

Retirement communities are either classified as 'independent living' or 'assisted living' or 'nursing home' depending on care needs.  However, as people age the level of care someone might need might fluctuate.  For instance when going through a bout of illness, recovery from an operation etc.  At times having carers visit at specific times of day may not be enough if you live in an independent living community and are going through a particularly bad episode with your health, which eventually you recover from.  People also need to have a stable home particularly as we age.  Having to move from 'independent living' to 'assisted living' and back again for instance to obtain the right level of care would be a great upheaval.  As people age it is expected that health issues will occur.  Living in a retirement complex where the level of support can flex around those fluctuating needs is paramount.  This level of care needs to be able to fluxuate between a more basic level to an advanced level as needed.

Why the contribution is important

When my grandparents were alive they lived in a retirement complex where the warden used to pop in at regular intervals for a chat and to ensure all was well and provide assistance where needed.  My mother now lives in an 'independent living' complex but recently has had serious health issues including more than one operation to recover from.  She has carers who will only come in to cook meals, but won't do shopping and won't come beyond 7pm to ensure she gets into bed OK.  There is no one to pop in on her regularly to ensure she is doing OK.  Others - her friends and family have had to pick this up but can't always be available and her health issues have gone on for some time so this is putting a lot of people under stress. If she gets into trouble she has a remote alarm system.  The warden on site mainly deals with admin and only works Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.  We seem to live in a less caring society - with government policies not necessarily putting the individual at its heart.  We need to go back to the times of my grandparents where people were looked after, rather than having to meet a check list of criteria in order to gain a particular level of support. Independent & assisted living should really be merged, with people seamlessly moving between one or the other based on their current situation with on site staff intuitively picking up on people's needs at specific times to provide them with that extra level of support when required.

If the argument against is financial, it needs to be considered whether money is being spent on the things that matter most.  If there are now more elderly people to care for, something similar to the stakeholder pension where a protected pot is put aside and contributed to throughout a person's working life might need to be considered.

by Jenny on August 07, 2019 at 10:31AM

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  • Posted by PaulRadforth August 07, 2019 at 15:12

    Why have the old days of family looking after elderly relatives disappeared and expectations of state aid taken their place.
  • Posted by Jenny August 08, 2019 at 09:53

    I understand what you are saying Paul. However, it can be about choice and personal circumstances. Some people want to stay in their own homes despite offers and they pay for their own care. The type of facilities I mentioned don't seem to be available even in the private sector. There are also other personal circumstances to consider: financial considerations, ability to give up work, space available and being in enough good health themselves to take on a caring role. Some people don't have any children and will always fall through the cracks for this and other reasons. As mentioned savings schemes if started early enough would avoid the need for state aid to allow for this choice or personal circumstances.
  • Posted by Shaun August 09, 2019 at 09:16

    I feel that it's an interesting idea, but we have several issues in our society, as you said " We seem to live in a less caring society - with government policies not necessarily putting the individual at its heart. We need to go back to the times of my grandparents where people were looked after, rather than having to meet a check list of criteria in order to gain a particular level of support. Independent & assisted living should really be merged, with people seamlessly moving between one or the other based on their current situation with on site staff intuitively picking up on people's needs at specific times to provide them with that extra level of support when required."

    - the government - the government have a tricky challenge on their hands, to either create policies which support and help people in retirement while punish the younger generations (because it'll take a generation or more to balance the books) or to try and create policies which won't make it as harsh for younger generations but also won't make it as comfitable for the older generations (this also includes state aid and the criteria comment you mentioned, not only this, get this wrong and it will create a hostile environment, take the free tv licences and bus passes arguments, for example.

    Looking after the grandparents:

    - burning the candle at both ends - the younger generations have it hard, they are having to work in conditions where they are being pushed to their absolute limits, whist possibly managing a family whist keeping in touch with friends and family and on top of all that possibly looking after elderly relitives. It is alot and explains why we don't have as caring society.

    - we have a babyboom generation - this means that there's more older people in our society than there is people being born I.e. an aging society - this causes problems and makes recruitment even more challenging, exspecially because the care sector often has low paid jobs.

    I wish things were diffrent, but sadly these are big problems which aren't being faced honestly and openly at the moment.
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