Who Cares?

Elderly Care - Time For Change?Does the failure of Southern Cross highlight our society’s failure to show enough care for our ageing relatives?

The Southern Cross care home operator has been forced to suspend its operations as its landlords have left the group en mass. This affects 752 homes and will affect, to some degree, all of its 31,000 elderly residents, some of whom may be forced to move as part of the restructuring.

Whilst the Government have assured residents that none will be left homeless, it begs the question, whose pocket did all the money raised, when Southern Cross sold the properties to their landlords, land up in and is it really prudent to leave the twilight years of our loved ones in the hands of profit making private companies?

Of course there are mitigating circumstances, there always are. Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, said the collapse of Southern Cross showed there were serious problems with the funding of care in the independent sector.

“I think the Southern Cross issue which has come to a head today, is very much an issue that other providers are facing because of the levels of resource that they have to deliver care on,” he told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme.

“Fees are a really big issue and we’ve had several years of nil increases, and of course we’ve had inflation rates running at 4-5%.”

David Rogers, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils take the welfare of care home residents extremely seriously and throughout this process that has always been their priority.”

“It’s greatly reassuring, and testament to the good work which has been going on behind the scenes and the resilience of the care home system, that a solution has been found which will hopefully avoid major upheaval for the vulnerable people involved.” (Source BBC News)

But are they missing the point? These people, many of whom have been forced by the Government rules on benefits, to sell their homes or pay for their care from their life-time savings. Where has the culture of caring for our families gone? Are we all too busy, or too lazy to look after our parents?

Time was, when there would be three generations living under one roof, all caring for each other and relying on themselves, rather than the state. That must now be the exception rather than the rule. Maybe it’s time to think about where our priorities lie, and whether, in the longer term, we would be better to get back to good ‘old fashioned’ family values.

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