I'm talking carers and caring this week.
An article recently appeared in The Independent stating:
'Disabled people are being forced to choose
between having a drink or going to the toilet during “flying care
visits” which last only 15 minutes and are increasingly being used by
cash-strapped councils struggling to cope with rising demands on the
social care system'
And people ask me why my mother doesn't have carers? Why it's left up to me?
I'm currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor next to my mum while she recovers from a broken pelvis. I'm there for every nurse's appointment, physio and occupational therapy. Why? Because she's hard of hearing and, more often than not, these people (often with very thick accents) make no attempt to speak slowly and clearly in a way she can understand. She's not stupid, she doesn't have dementia - she simply struggles to hear.
Do I really want to leave my mum to be rushed and bewildered with a complete stranger first thing in the morning and last thing at night when she feels at her most vulnerable? Answers on a postcard.
Incidentally, I have also been appalled by the way nurses and doctors in the hospital my mother stayed in dealt with her hearing difficulties. Nobody seems to have the proper training to raise the level of their voice without screeching AND to look directly at the person. The audiologist (on our little day trip to get her ears checked for wax) was so softly spoken, I could barely hear him and he spoke to my mum with his back to her. Please! A little common sense is all it takes - and it's your job.
But I digress. FIFTEEN minutes to get an elderly or disabled person up, on and off the loo (or possibly empty and clean a commode), washed, dressed and fed! This is beyond a joke. The infirm do not need to be rushed or made to feel that they are working against the clock. For some, this may be their only contact during a long day and it matters. It also matters that they feel safe, supported and cared for. It's in the title! 'Carers'.
It's currently taking me TWO HOURS to complete all of the above with my mum. Two very long hours but I'm going at her pace and keeping her happy. I'm not for one minute suggesting that all home visits should be this long but fifteen minutes is laughable.
I pity those who are being subjected to this nightmare. I have no idea what the answer is but something really needs to be done.
Being a carer is the toughest thing I've ever done in my life. It's relentless and I have to constantly remind myself to be patient and calm - this is for my own mother who I love with all my heart. She didn't ask to be in this position - neither did those who are subjected to carers.
I'll carry on because I have no choice, and on the days that I lay down and cry with exhaustion I remind myself that no one will overlook my mum's physical and mental needs by a fifteen minute flying visit.
She's worth more than that.