Well it’s hot. I don’t mind the heat and I love the seasons in this country but when we go from snow to heatwave in what feels like 4 weeks, then I get grumpy. Actually I am grumpy generally. I’ve had a number of deaths amongst family and friends in recent months (which is why the blog has been a bit subdued) and I know the generation above me in the family will soon be no longer be around. Being old is harder than I can imagine, even witnessing it first-hand. I understand how people give up on life, when they just feel too exhausted to go on. The very elderly who manage to sustain an independent life fall between the two stools of the social services and the healthcare system – which don’t seem to work together. I know people think it’s great when old people live independently, and it is that very independence that keeps them going, but life when you are old is unbelievably hard when you have to struggle to do the simplest of things. For instance getting out of bed. Washing. Going to the toilet. Cooking is very hard. It involves heat, and bending down and lifting things. You can’t impose on people what you think will make life easier. If they have never had a microwave, they aren’t going to start over with one now. Getting a cleaner in is an obvious solution, but what if you have never lived with a stranger coming into your home? So the cleaning is kept to a minimum or not done at all. If you are managing your failing body (arthritis, a multitude of pills to take etc) and getting by day to day, then the social care system and the health system pretty much ignore you. There is no holistic duty of care by them anymore. That is something the generation above me has seen disappear, and they find that very hard. Care in hospitals can be amazingly good but things aren’t joined up. Departments don’t talk to each other. Everyone seems to work in a bubble. The duty of care by a taxi driver or a supermarket assistant who just go slightly out of their way to help makes so, so much difference to the quality of someone’s life.
If you have a network of family, friends and neighbours to keep an eye on you, that is all goo, but how people cope who do not have this is beyond me. There must be so much acute loneliness in this world.
Forgive me. This was intended to be a review of Caroline Or Change.
Off to work now.