has there been a time when so much has been written about care homes.
What is supposed to happen, what people think is happening and what must
not happen. Guidance written, ridiculed, ripped
up, rewritten and made right – all within a few weeks. Feelings
wrenched, relationships stretched, jobs done – loss, grief, loneliness,
isolation, humanity, heroics and humility. Words tumble, praise heaps
and fears overcome. The people who live and work in group settings,
residential care and supported living – children, young people, disabled
people, homeless, older people, centenarians, social care workers,
nurses, registered managers, chefs, cleaners, handy people – it is their
home in which they too must stay. What we are all experiencing,
courtesy of the epidemic, is an ‘in your face’ clash between the needs
of individuals and the collective. Something most of us can usually side
step if we choose. Yet for people living in groups this is the stuff of
their lives and, now, their deaths. For them the benefits of living together,
their positive choice, outweighed the risks of possible harm.
When we emerge from our cocoons it is vital that we understand and
record what has happened in our care homes and group living settings.
For our neighbourhoods and communities are clusters of homes of many
varieties and it will be the good things that people have done together,
for and with each other, which will have ensured we have survived,
learned, adapted and grown.
The Residential Forum
now offers 785 posts. The most recent of which are signposts to
information and guidance about the epidemic and use the hashtags
#coronavirus and #covid 19. The Forum wants to assist place care homes,
supported living, children’s homes,
residential schools and colleges, hospices and all forms of group and
assisted accommodation at the heart of how communities succeed. As one wise civil servant said in explaining social care
to colleagues – “it is not health nor education nor housing nor justice
or even employment but it is what slides between them and makes them
work well together”. The Forum needs its supporters to help describe and
share this explanation and the positive role of residential care within social care. Plans for a new website are dedicated to enabling this by June. The message is to keep things simple
and factual. The blog site will be inbuilt and the way to keep abreast
of knowledge and activity. So set up a notification on the blog site if
you want to receive updates about this initiative.
Contributions and ideas are always welcome – either direct to me or posted to the site at http://residentialforum.tumblr.com/submit
Let me know if you have colleagues who would like to receive occasional notifications like this one. If you no longer wish to support this group then let me know and I will unsubscribe you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember care homes and residential care are a positive choice for some people at some points in their lives.
Today’s Easter message has to be one of hope.
Let us hope that this crisis will mark a point of departure for
fundamental change in attitudes and in the way our society sees ageing
and the support needs of vulnerable people of all ages.
We rightly rail against the marginalisation of
social care in this country. Across the Commonwealth in many countries
the situation is far worse. In CommonAge we are calling out the
institutional ageism that has been brought sharply
and alarmingly into focus by the responses of governments to the
crisis. Health and Care services in many countries are basic and the
greatest impact of this is on vulnerable and older people.
While we anguish about the situation here in the
UK and salute the heroism of all health and care staff spare as much
thought as possible for those in lower and middle income countries who
are doing it tougher still. For many the full
effects of the pandemic are still to be felt and they are woefully
under resourced to cope. These are also the countries from which so many
of our UK care staff originate and where their families are.
Stay safe and well everyone.
Andrew Larpent OBE,
Chairman, Commonwealth Association for the Ageing,- CommonAge