My mum has vascular dementia, from years of smoking, (that’s not just my opinion, that’s what the specialist at London’s biggest hospital told us quite matter of factly). Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of this disease & occurs when blood flow to the brain becomes reduced. Its a progressive illness, it will NOT get better !
My mums ability to remember, understand, communicate and reason has declined at a steady pace over the last 4 years – with some astoundingly severe changes, following infections (Flu & Kidney). BUT every now & then there are flashes of her prior self – her sparkling personality, her wit, her intelligence (A published author) – which I long to cling too… As I am sure she would too…
Dementia is a cruel illness and one that demands a LOT of care – To try to care for her as the disease took grip, Mum lived with me & my daughters for almost 2 years – it was a struggle to say the least. When it became too much, she lived in a flat nearby with a live-in carer, but she still managed to leave the oven on, go for midnight wanders in the PJ’s & fall over often.
So after over 18 months of rowing with the local authority, they found an “extra-care” housing facility.
The facility looked absolutely stunning, all shiny & new, with lovely facilities on-site & carers there 24/7 (Not a local authority one, as none were available, but a “HA” one that the local authority contract out to) & over the last 2½ years, the care has been ranging from absolutely great to poor, as has the communication from the Housing Association that owns it (resulting in my mum being in arrears with rent/ food costs, as they just let her portion of outstanding payments pile up & up for 18 months before contacting next of kin – ME).
I have always had an issue with how much this “facility” is costing not only my mum, myself, my sister & the tax payer (almost £700 per week), however this post is not about that. This is about the fact that for many people in these facilities, the watchful eye that is promised is either not there, or worse still, doesn’t see what actually goes on.
After a number of falls & lost glasses / keys / food incidents (yes food) my sister & I decided to install CCTV in her flat. The falls are less now (I can’t explain why) but also, just being able to have a quick peek on her every now & then has really helped with our peace of mind.This is just a cheap, PC World, Wifi enabled CCTV inside her flat & it took some persuading of the “facility” – as they didn’t want it initially.. But I believe it helps. Every now & then I’ll call mum on the telephone & she will give me a cute wave on the camera (when she remembers they are there). I personally feel, this should have been a standard part of the property, to safeguard not only mum, but the carers too (my mum can be very vocal when she doesn’t want to take her med’s & if you were listening outside you would believe she was being attacked).
This week, after my trip to the CCTV in Care Homes Campaign Video Launch I visited my mum unexpectedly (not on one of my usual days) , only to find her wandering in a corridor, confused, bare footed, no glasses (couldn’t see) with no personal alarm on & NO keys… The home she is in has a buzzer system where tenants cannot get into their part of the home without their keys, so mum was wandering in the outer part, with no way of returning to her flat… BUT to be honest she didn’t even know where she was…
It took me 40 minutes to find a member of staff & even longer to calm a frightened, disorientated , elderly vulnerable woman (who just happens to have been my rock for 50 years) down…
CCTV in the halls would’ve caught this – Wouldn’t it?
I am wholeheartedly supporting Jayne Connery (Big Brother 2016 contestant) and her campaign for CCTV in care homes. So I travelled to Gerrards Cross with our Ambassador Linda Lambert for the launch of the song that has been written to accompany the campaign.
The event was lovely, meeting with people all working voluntarily towards the same goals and the reason why we were there – the single from the Rhetoriks “Unspoken”- Hit me hard!
I was not prepared for the song, nor the video – “Unspoken” is so powerful and emotive and is obviously penned by someone who understands this subject (The fantastically talented Scottish songstress Elle).
The Celeb FC team and I are behind this campaign 100%… I cannot explain how moving the song is, you simply MUST buy it online to support this extremely worthwhile campaign and this extremely talented duo… I will post links to buy it as soon as I have them.
So going forward, All I can state is that in the last year or so, I have noticed the revelations more about the abuse of patients/tenants in a care homes. The issues can range from deliberate cruelty & wilful neglect to unintentional (but nonetheless appalling) negligence.
There is too little attention paid to the issue of the quality of care, there is too little attention paid to the time limits they get to perform duties (Believe me, I’ve been in the meeting with Elderly services and the carers are tasked to the minute to perform duties such as medication giving, washing, cleaning, preparing food). So when we throw up our hands in horror after reading heartbreaking stories of how callous care workers behave, can we say its just “bad apples” or is this a deeper problem with many roots?Im not saying I have the answers, I do however have some ideas – and one of which is most definitely CCTV in property – This would / should at least address the neglect/abuse part of the many issues on Facebook with.
So lets take away the uncertainty – Jayne Connery is calling for (& MUST GET) CCTV in Care Homes throughout the UK as a standard fixture!”
I’m doing my bit – not only for my wonderful mum, but for everyone who may be in need of protection both now & in the future. Question – What will you do?
You can find out why Jayne is behind this campaign by watching this video NOW!
The video for UNSPOKEN is at the end – It absolutely gets me every time…. Particularly as my mum wanders, loses focus and forgets why shes left her flat….. Karin
Karin – Teammum & Founder of Celeb FC is with this campaign 100%
My wonderful Mum – Margaret “Peggy”
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