Thursday, 20 February 2014

Facing Isolation

How do you imagine your later years of your life?

Surrounded by family? In a home?

Do you ever consider being alone for days with only your TV, Pet or window for stimulation.....

It is a harsh reality and a damn scary one at that!

Unfortunately it is very true and facing thousands of our elderly everyday on a street near you.



My Mum was a perfect example, as a young woman she was very active. Playing piano, painting, cookery and then a family of 3 girls. Very active within the community and always attended village events on a regular basis. A family trait which we all seem to do is to make costumes; both my Nan and Mum were really good at making fancy dress and running events (so I suppose that is where I've got it from!) so there was never a dull moment.

In later life she became ill with COPD and heart failure. She couldn't walk and so became housebound. I was here as her carer and also a Mum to a growing boy, so times when maybe I should have been sat with her, I was with him playing and being a Mum myself.
It was a huge bone of contention, an elephant in the room that I didn't spend enough time just talking.
As time passed she became more bitter and the less she saw of people the more introvert she got, so when people did pop in she was miserable and antagonistic. Eventually albeit 2 old friends, nobody came.

Now this could be put down to her and how she had become but other people's lives and their own age/illness obviously plays a factor. So her friends were getting on and health not at it was - you cannot expect them to pop in on a regular basis - but I do wish some of them had.

Her carers that came to wash her (she didn't like me to do it and I wasn't arguing about that!) just did not have the time to sit and chat with her which is all really that she wanted. Tom & Magda her favourites always made time and were a delight to her. They made her last year a real pleasure every time they were on shift but 15 - 30 minutes; really is just no time at all.



So what is the answer?

I received an email today - it is highlighting a grant system that has been put in place for anyone that can make realised an idea to stop social deprivation and isolation in the elderly. It has to be sustainable and profit making.
I cannot think how this real social issue can be solved.

Everyone is so busy, Everybody needs to work to be able to put food on their own table! Yet there are so many fantastic volunteers within our country without whom I have no doubt this country would cease to function.
 They are our backbone and the underbelly of every community. Just sit there for 2 minutes and think how much is achieved just in your road/village/town by those that give just their time and energy to help where it is needed. Now think what you wouldn't have if those people just .... stopped.

I don't have an idea, I wish to God I did.

We are all getting older, and I would like to think by the time I need to be washed (heaven forbid) something will be in place.
I have my doubts.

What do you think could be done?
How would you solve this issue?

I would really like to hear  your views.