I am writing to you concerning rest homes/care facilities for the elderly and physically challenged, including private, public and government facilities.
Over the years, I have noticed they are becoming dumping grounds for relatives of families and friends. During my visits to a number of them, I’ve noticed neglect, boredom and loneliness.
I feel the rest homes/care facilities should be better-equipped to address these areas in the lives of residents. The rates for these care services are outrageous and should be based more on the types of care each resident requires.
The majority of the structures that were donated for home-care usage, in my opinion, did not fit the designed purpose. In future, buildings for this use should be purposely constructed.
I wish to recognise the Sylvia Richardson Care Facility, which was the brainchild of Dame Jennifer Smith when she was Minister of Health. It was also used as a model for other rest homes. I admire Packwood Home and Westmeath because they are properly accessible and purposefully built.
The words “boredom” and “loneliness” in the rest homes/care facilities are alive and well. There needs to be a variety of activities and interaction for the clients. There should be an activity co-ordinator in each care facility. In my opinion, boredom and loneliness seem to shorten lives.
Management needs to improve its management skills. Proper research should be done for patient compatibility and the diet in these facilities needs a marked improvement.
There has also been a change in reconstruction in some of the care facilities as to the types of clients they manage, ie, walking ability and a little physical assistance. This is being done because of financial reasons and hiring staff.
The rest homes/care facilities should provide contracts to each client stating what the facility’s responsibilities are as well as what the client’s responsibilities are.
The children/authorised individuals of the aged/senior clients should stop dumping them off to these rest homes/care facilities and forgetting them.
This includes friends of these seniors also. There are a handful of good friends still around. Let’s improve this situation, if we really care.
One example of this was when a friend said his daughter was having a birthday party for him. I responded: “Your daughter is treating you well.”
He replied that is the first time he had seen her in the past year since she admitted him in the rest home. I find that sad.
I am calling on the Government to review the seniors’ pension and any other savings over the $500 that is taken away when seniors end up in a rest home/care facility. They have worked all their lives looking forward to being independent. They should be allowed to keep a percentage of their pension.
The woman’s purse is empty, the man’s wallet is empty. Mr Finance Minister, I know finances are tight — one solution is to drop some of the consultants.
Also, stop sending young people to prison for minor offences. They should be assigned community work. It also helps with saving them a prison record, which hinders them getting employment and it saves $80,000 looking after them in jail.
By the way, I’d like to personally thank Claudette Fleming for the work she has done over the years with seniors. All the best for good health, Dr Fleming, as you serve in your capacity for seniors.
One more comment: I was sorry to hear of the closing of Admiralty House because of a lack of government funding.
WILLARD S. FOX