There is a disconnect in health care services in this country.
Good support is available for able-bodied carers, although this is not widely publicised.
There is support for elderly people who wish to stay in their own home – again, this is more than adequate for people who are in good health.
There is excellent palliative care support for people for whom treatment is no longer effective.
There are networks who support people with health problems to assist in recovery or in management of their condition.
But there is a huge gap right where my parents fit – where one partner requires assistance to continue living in the family home but the other partner is temporarily unable to assist them.
This is the frustration we have now.
The local council provides dad with 3 days a week of personal care assistance. We have been able to source emergency care for 2 days a week for this week and possibly next week. But beyond that, we will have to pay market rates (and they are considerable) for a personal care attendant to help him put on his shoes and socks, and to be in the house while he showers in case he has a fall.
The council also provides them with 90 minutes’ cleaning a week – enough to do the floors, clean the bath and shower and toilets, do any left over dishes, and maybe a load of washing. But mum needs someone who can hang out and bring in the laundry two or three more times a week.
They’re really tiny things that they need, but there’s no-one to provide those services (and no real way to deliver them, I imagine). I imagine that there are many elderly people who end up in institutions simply because of the small things – even though they are quite capable of living independently.