Tuesday, 2 March 2021

The Aged Care Royal Commission

findings have just been released. None of those findings surprise me in the slightest. 

I have been in and out of almost all the aged care residences within pedalling distance. I  have been in and out of many similar places intended for people with disabilities. All of them could have been better, in most cases much better.

The real problem is that to run these places well you would need money. Money is not available. Governments do not see these places as anything other than a drain on the public purse. Private operators want a profit.

It is not possible to profit from such places and run them well. Nothing is going to change that.

The Senior Cat's residence is small compared with many. There are just 38 beds. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. Some of the staff have been there ever since the Senior Cat moved in last August but I can count them on one hand. Everyone else is "casual". They come and go. The Senior Cat finds he likes someone and they can do their job well - only to find they go again. He still has the intellectual capacity to tell them how to do something - such as take the foot plates off the wheelchair so that he can transfer to the bed - but many other residents don't. It adds to the time and frustration of all concerned if the staff are not trained to do these things. Oh yes, they supposedly have "certificates" in aged care from our "further education" facilities. In reality though the content of those certificates gives them no idea how to handle the day-to-day realities. The Black Cat did a similar course in another state. I saw the content and it would have done very little to prepare students for work.

With just 38 beds though people do tend to know one another. They know me. They know Middle Cat. There is one man there, still relatively young, who has a severe communication impairment. He cannot speak. He finds it difficult to process what is said to him but, curiously perhaps, he can still read. I typed a note for him to read the other day. There was a book here I thought he might like to read. Would he like to have it? His smile said everything. I handed it to him a couple of days ago. With some difficulty he gave me a "thumbs up". Nobody on the staff understands something like that. How could they? It isn't just a matter of time. It's a matter of knowledge. I had to work it out for myself - from past experience of dealing with children with similar problems. 

There is another residence not far from the Senior Cat's residence. It is much larger and much of it is still very new. There are a hundred beds there. Further up the road there is another residence with 134 beds. The costs associated with the first one are far beyond anything we could afford even if we children contributed everything we had. The other bigger residence is cheaper but the facilities are no better and it is even more institution like. The Senior Cat is, as such places go, probably in a "good" place but it could still be much better. We know it won't be like "home" but why do the frail elderly not get the best of care? 

I went to see J.... yesterday. She is in another residence about ten minutes ride from here. She has no family here and I am the only visitor she gets apart from a former neighbour. Covid19 visiting restrictions have not helped. People who once visited have simply stopped seeing not just J.... but any number of other people. It's been the excuse they needed to stop. They no longer need to face the reality of getting old.

We need to start talking about old age.  

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