In the shoes of … | Gill’s Mum: “Sunk without trace”

Mum rewriting blogWhen I called in to see Mum, I found her busy; busy trying to sort out her handwritten blog. Cutting and pasting it the old way – by rewriting bits.

It is lovely to see Mum starting to write regularly again and that in itself is significant. Last year, when she had had her accident and was living for several months with me, she had a lot more time on her hands but I could never really persuade her to do very much writing or drawing. She just immersed herself in her books. She was worried about the future – we all were.

Now she is happy in her new Assisted Living accommodation and making more friends and seeing more people than she has done for a very long time, she has the sparkle back in her eye. And this goes with taking a greater interest in life in general and pursuing her various interests and hobbies. Well there’s a surprise! … So look out for some more of her pithy blogs. 😉

NHS Confed logoSeeing the whole person and how things need to join up and offer quality of life rather than just medical fixing, is a key theme of my talk tomorrow on the opening day of the NHS National Confederation Annual Conference, where I am very honoured to be speaking.

So what was Mum writing about so furiously (in more senses than one!)?

“You know that talk you said you’re giving in Liverpool [on urgent care for older people]. Well I have some thoughts of my own…” 

I looked at the opening title of Mum’s blog: “Sunk without trace”.  My heart sank too – I wondered what an earth she had been writing about. The poignancy of the war-time analogy and, as I read it, the fact that that generation of stoical wartime survivors feel neglected made me feel very uncomfortable – and I hope it does you too.

So I invite you to hear from than a 93-year-old, desperately trying to enjoy life and stay HERE (as mum wryly calls her new living situation) and OUT of hospital…

Sunk without trace

NHS - over 70sA front page article in the paper this week asked if there will be a second-class NHS for over-70s, leading to many avoidable deaths.

This is not a new question of course, but it seems that funding is being cut again. Many old people living alone and dependent on carers and nurses coming in every day, or maybe just some days, rely on them for some contact with the outside world and life. Again it all comes down to money and funds are needed.

I am very lucky and living now in an Assisted Living Home (NOT a Care Home). I came in here after an accident made it impossible for me to go on living on my own in my own house. But it is not cheap and probably beyond the means of a lot of people.

This is a lovely place where the residents are interesting to talk to and are good at organising their own amusements such as Scrabble, a quiz, a film night and the occasional tea party. All this keeps the mind active.

Carers [Mum means paid carers] cannot do this of course. They hardly have time to talk at all. Just in and out. There is also less and less contact with the Doctor these days as things have been palmed off on to the practice nurse or someone else. These people are always in a hurry and watching their computer screens.

Hospitals often send people home too soon and if they are kept in they don’t always get looked after as they should be. Then inevitably they come back in, creating a vicious circle.

This latest cutback makes one wonder if anyone really cares about the over-70s – who will obviously be increasing in numbers – or if they think it is an easy way of disposing of them without argument.

Please post any comments – it would be great if you can help Mum understand the power of blogging and that these posts do not just disappear into the ether… 😉


About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives.
This entry was posted in co-production, compassion, dementia, Gill's Mum, health, housing, mental health, social care, well-being and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to In the shoes of … | Gill’s Mum: “Sunk without trace”

  1. zoeharris13 says:

    Geat blog Gill’s Mum. I’m glad you have settled in to your new place. My Mum also had the good fortune to live in an Assisted Living home and I would love to see this kind of housing more widely available. If people realised that they would be able to stay independent for longer, they might be tempted to make the move sooner – if the places were available.

    But the model, at least in my mother’s place, still expected people to be rushed to hospital for things that could have been treated at home, especially as the carers
    are on site. My mum had COPD and whilst the hospital visit might have sorted out the specific issue, the cost to her wellbeing was huge, and avoidable.
    Gill knows I’m a passionate advocate for the whole person approach for medical and social care and I’m delighted to see she’s talking about this at the NHS Confederation event.
    Please keep writing Gill’s Mum, what you have to say can make a difference to lots of people.
    Best wishes, Zoe


  2. Simon Gilby says:

    Thanks Gill’s mum. This is what helps us all stay connected to what it’s all about. And prompts me (again) to say thanks to my parents’ GP practice who work so hard to make time for their patients, and be about people not computer screens


  3. Ken Howard says:

    Loved the blog and sadly so true


  4. I think these posts are so important, and I want to be part of the movement to change things. I think there are lots of people who would agree that there is something wrong with the way we are treating older people today. Thank you for sharing your insights and feelings, as too often people talk about older people and don’t listen to them – which is part of the problem. In my job as a children’s writer I want to write a story with a strong older character, and I will keep your blog in mind for inspiration! Thank you.


  5. Great to hear from Gill’s mum again – keep up the blogging, it’s vital that society, as well as professionals in health and social care, understand how older people feel, what their needs are and that they are most definitely not to be forgotten or disposed of. Thank you Gill’s mum!! x


  6. Some really pertinent point made in Gill’s mum’s blog especially about how important to health and wellbeing is personal contact that is face to face and with sufficient time for a meaningful exchange.

    For me it all comes back to focussing on what is important to the person needing assistance to enable them to be as independent as possible and to feel good about themselves. This might not need a rigid clinical pathway, which sometimes misses the point, but instead might require time and personal contact and someone who listens and responds to what they’ve heard.

    ‘Older people’, ‘people over 70’ …. are not one homogenous group but individuals so should be treated as such- great points Gill’s Mum’s – keep blogging!


  7. Gill’s Mum, your blog is like the very best tonic. Although my Mum has been in a dementia-specialist care home for four years and it is hard to say how much the stimulation available there means to her, her cousin – who’s 88 – has just moved into a care home. She is very sharp but increasingly frail and two falls in quick succession lead to a spell in hospital. She’s a very private person who’s lived alone for more than 30 years and the transition to the care home has been and will continue to be challenging. Hopefully, she’ll be able to return to her own home in time but, much as I want that, I’m not sure it will happen. If she’s not able to live independently again, the challenge is to find the right environment to ensure that her life is as rich as possible.
    Gill’s Mum, your words give me strength to do that. Thank you and, please, keep writing. x


  8. Pingback: Dealing *urgently* with urgent care for older people… | Whose Shoes? A catalyst for change in health and social care

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