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Lunafreya

Blame on families for aged care

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Lunafreya
Posted (edited)

I saw an article about people being criticised for “storing” old people in nursing homes, but when I thought about it people really have no choice these days

Due to the nature of our world, it’s no longer viable to have an elderly relative live with you and for you to care for them. A single income isn’t enough to support a family and there are more opportunities for work than there were, so unmarried daughters aren’t forced to care for their elderly parents 

Also people live longer these days, this means more health problems which means they have high care needs. Especially dementia 

Honestly, this just seems like the government to pass on blame for the mistakes that have been made in aged care which left so many people so vulnerable 

Edited by Lunafreya
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Green Sage

Yeah, I’ve seen comments on articles along the lines of “if people just looked after their parents this wouldn’t happen”

but it’s not a fair comment. Women always took on that role, and these days they can’t. We are having kids later so have children still at home, for a start. And women are working until their own retirement. So who looks after the elderly all day when no one is at home? And living longer means more complex needs, for longer.  You end up with 70 year olds looking after 90 year olds. It’s just not possible.

the solution is better aged care, with actual, reasonable, staff to resident ratios. And many other things that I have no idea about.

when my parents are 80, my kids will still be at home, possibly studying still. And I’ll be working. And DH will be working. I just can’t see myself being able to care for my parents as well, they wouldn’t want us to anyway. 

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Ivy Ivy

I agree with LemonMyrtle that better aged care would be the ideal.  One problem is, with longer life expectancy, and ever-increasing medical costs, most of which occur during the last years of life, the average person does not save up enough money to support themselves for decades of retirement, and high-quality, well-resourced aged care.  People (on average) used to live a few years after retirement, and then a heart attack or stroke or cancer killed them.  These illnesses are now treatable in many; people live on and on.  Care for people with dementia is expensive.  Many, many elderly in homes have dementia, and for years. 

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seayork2002

No offence to my wonderful son but there is no way I want to be living with him when I am older, aged care (and other forms of outside home care) is there for a reason and it is up to the families what is used when.

If the government put travellers into quarantine from day 1 (all countries) the virus would not be here in the first place (i presume but I could be wrong

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Sugarplum Poobah
Posted (edited)

My mum spent the last 7 weeks of her life in aged care.  There is no way she could have been looked after at home. Her needs were complex and she required 24 hour care. She was incredibly frail and advanced cancer had turned her bones very brittle. Her home was not adapted for what she would have needed and her husband could not have managed her care -- neither physically nor emotionally. And I have osteo arthritis and could not have managed all the physical aspects either. 

With the emphasis on keeping people at home for as long as possible these days, almost everyone who is in care is there because they cannot stay home. People with no experience of the complexities of dementia and other conditions that can come with age are very good at laying on the guilt. And people who have managed to look after elderly parents at home are unlikely to have experienced the worst that old age can bring. I learnt to put people like that on ignore.

 

Edited by Sugarplum Poobah
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born.a.girl
Posted (edited)

Having been through it twice, I can say that it's a complex situation, with huge variances between people and their circumstances.

As for ageing, part of the reason for the increase is the loss of many men of WW2 vintage, most of whom had far below average life expectancies, even if they suffered no physical war injuries. The vast majority had PTSD, including almost certainly my father, who died of alcoholism at 67, despite going away to war in his late twenties a non-drinker. (Came back both a drinker and a chain smoker, what a surprise.)

My mother however, lived to 98, and all of her children were in their sixties by the time she was needing extensive support, which we gave, despite the closest being two hours away.  All three of her daughters were also all working full time at that point.

THE biggest issue with the homes that some elderly end up in, is that the majority of them (and none of us will be any different) *don't recognise the moment they need a care home, so go into care after a fall, or other 'adverse event'. That means you get given a list of vacancies at that point, and choose from them - at the same time as you're sorting their empty home & visiting them in hospital/rehab.

There are some amazing places that take people with just the pension, but you need to be on their waiting list, and take the vacancy when it comes up.

The other thing that many may not realise about places like St Basil's (Greek) is that sometimes it's the parent demanding to be there, knowing their language will be spoken. To them, that comfort is paramount, while the family anxiously looks around and realises that XYZ home around the corner had far, far better management and care. 

Edited by born.a.girl
missed the *don't
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CallMeFeral

Yeah it's pretty infuriating. Caring for the elderly has always fallen mostly into the unpaid unappreciated women's work category, and I believe single women are the quickest growing group entering poverty or homelessness (or something, I forget which one it was I read). 

Aged care needs to be regulated as tightly as daycare - it's just as vulnerable a group often without the ability to communicate and defend their own needs. It's a disgrace. 

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Lunafreya

One of my friends is Chinese and she says there’s a lot of cultural pressure to care for one’s elderly parents with shaming those who put them into aged care

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born.a.girl
1 minute ago, Sugarplum Poobah said:

My mum spent the last 7 weeks of her life in aged care.  There is no way she could have been looked after at home. Her needs were complex and she required 24 hour care. She was incredibly frail and advanced cancer had turned her bones very brittle. Her home was not adapted for what she would have needed and her husband could not have managed her care -- neither physically nor emotionally. And I have osteo arthritis and could not have managed all the physical aspects either. 

With the emphasis on keeping people at home for as long as possible these days, almost everyone who is in care is there because they cannot stay home. People with no experience of the complexities of dementia and other conditions that can come with age addres very good at laying on the guilt. And people who have managed to look after elderly parents at home are unlikely to have experienced the worst that old age can bring. I learnt to put people like that on ignore.

 

Very true about the point at which people reach aged care.   Many decades ago, my sixties uncle just decided he'd had enough of life living alone and he moved to what was then called something different, and slowly moved to the different areas of the home.

My mother, at 95, did not qualify for aged care!  The assessor said that she could push it a bit and get her some respite. 

It annoys me to hear that people in aged care die quickly, regardless of their age. Well, that would be because they are only there because they need such extensive support, and that generally only happens in the last few years of your life.

(That's not to say there are some awful places, despite the best efforts of staff, some I just took one look and didn't even ask to speak to someone.)

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Treasure Island
Posted (edited)

Agreed, there are so many factors to consider that can make it inappropriate for family care. Including the above you also have individual personalities and practical considerations like size of home. Not to mention the average person isn't actually trained for the job when needs become more complex. If it works for your family that is great but don't judge others. It is not an option for my parents for several reasons - firstly my mother had her own grandmother live with them and has always been very vocal that this was a negative experience. For behaviour/personality reasons it would be very difficult for me to live with my parents again. I am a single mother and still have children at home until my parents are in their 80s and no spare bedrooms. AND I will most likely be working til after they die. We also live 3 hours apart.

Aged care is a society responsibility, some people don't even have families in the first place.

Edited by Treasure Island
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born.a.girl
6 minutes ago, CallMeFeral said:

Yeah it's pretty infuriating. Caring for the elderly has always fallen mostly into the unpaid unappreciated women's work category, and I believe single women are the quickest growing group entering poverty or homelessness (or something, I forget which one it was I read). 

Aged care needs to be regulated as tightly as daycare - it's just as vulnerable a group often without the ability to communicate and defend their own needs. It's a disgrace. 

Yeah,  I think it's women over 50,  something like that.   'Too old' to be considered for a job, 'too young' to qualify for the government's concessions to those over 60 (which only, I believe, release you from some jobkeeper requirements, doesn't give you pension level money).

Many of them, from what I've read, are women who separated after shared house owning, but were never in a financial position to buy again. 

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Squeekums The Elf
31 minutes ago, ~LemonMyrtle~ said:

Yeah, I’ve seen comments on articles along the lines of “if people just looked after their parents this wouldn’t happen”

but it’s not a fair comment. Women always took on that role, and these days they can’t. We are having kids later so have children still at home, for a start. And women are working until their own retirement. So who looks after the elderly all day when no one is at home? And living longer means more complex needs, for longer.  You end up with 70 year olds looking after 90 year olds. It’s just not possible.

the solution is better aged care, with actual, reasonable, staff to resident ratios. And many other things that I have no idea about.

when my parents are 80, my kids will still be at home, possibly studying still. And I’ll be working. And DH will be working. I just can’t see myself being able to care for my parents as well, they wouldn’t want us to anyway. 

Take out all the stuff we have on our plates these days, there also and aspect of WANT. I would have rather stick rusty. hot pins in my eyes than care for my father in his final months. Its HIS own fault and i feel no guilt. I wouldnt have even fronted the cash for an aged care home. 

How many are looking to go into care roles though. Im unemployed, been offered numerous aged care courses and refuse them every time as I will NEVER work in that sort of role. I know 1 person who got to cert 3, did their placement and quit.  

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Sugarplum Poobah
3 minutes ago, born.a.girl said:

Very true about the point at which people reach aged care.   Many decades ago, my sixties uncle just decided he'd had enough of life living alone and he moved to what was then called something different, and slowly moved to the different areas of the home.

My mother, at 95, did not qualify for aged care!  The assessor said that she could push it a bit and get her some respite. 

It annoys me to hear that people in aged care die quickly, regardless of their age. Well, that would be because they are only there because they need such extensive support, and that generally only happens in the last few years of your life.

(That's not to say there are some awful places, despite the best efforts of staff, some I just took one look and didn't even ask to speak to someone.)

Yes, it's the "they went into care and it was all downhill from there". Well yes -- the two are related but not in the way you (not you BAG) think!  

Mum was in transition care for a couple of weeks before going to permanent care and that was a real eye-opener -- and not in a good way. 

Several years ago my late former mother-in-law had a cardiac arrest when gardening. She was still looking after herself at home (she had a cleaner once a week, but that was it) and she was in her late eighties.  Her children were told she was probably dead before she hit the ground. I realised most of us won't be that lucky, but having seen the alternative it's what I'd plump for. 

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Lunafreya

She told me of a case where you had this woman who looked after her MIL. The Mil got dementia, and it's the type where the person sorta loses touch with reality and inhibitions. So she started suspecting that the dil was poisoning her food and wouldn't eat. Some of the family didn’t believe the daughter in law and thought she was abusing the elderly lady.

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But seriously

And there are plenty of children who would faint at the idea of losing inheritance. Very few people pay enough in tax over their working lives to pay for what it pays to look after someone well in ages care for years on end. Fact. Even now the payment system doesn’t really cover it. If it was done in a manner that reflected real cost it could be done.
 

And families need to have open conversations about end of life care. In your 80s and 90s it is not a tragedy to die. But it is extremely sad to die in an icu bed. 

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born.a.girl
4 minutes ago, Lunafreya said:

She told me of a case where you had this woman who looked after her MIL. The Mil got dementia, and it's the type where the person sorta loses touch with reality and inhibitions. So she started suspecting that the dil was poisoning her food and wouldn't eat. Some of the family didn’t believe the daughter in law and thought she was abusing the elderly lady.

Delusions are incredibly common.  My mother had atypical dementia (always just listed as Alzheimer's by the GP) as assessed by a Geriatrician once she was in rehab.  We had BIL throwing my sister down a mine shaft, my SIL sending my brother bankrupt (lucky she was incapable of sending the vicious letter she wrote to her), her Legacy man trying to sell her house from under her (poor man) amongst other things.

 

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Romeo Void

We need better aged care, but we also have a lot of people in aged care that would have done just fine at home with a little extra support. 

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mandelbrot

A relative had her MIL develop delusions when she had dementia, but in these delusions the MIL actually liked her DIL and was happy and excited to meet and make new friends every day. It was, of course, a total reversal on how the MIL had responded to everyone in her life prior to that point.

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BadCat

It's just another excuse to divert attention from the fact that the government has screwed the pooch on aged care.

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littlepickle

My now 97 year old grandmother made the decision 12 months ago  to enter care despite having two daughters in their 60’s willing and able to care for her in their homes. Her reasons were:

- having someone available at night to call on if she thought she was having a panic attack

- having someone to help shower her on the days where she felt ‘poorly’ ( probably once a month)

- most importantly for her was not having to be whisked off to hospital if she has an ‘event’.  She has had one very small minor stroke while being there and they were able to help her to bed, provide anti- anxiety medication a whiff of oxygen and call the family (she made a fully recovery but was prepared to die in the comfort of her own bed)

When covid first reared it’s head her home completely shut the doors for 12 weeks to all visitors (this included brief meetings through the window). At the time it appeared very harsh but looking at what is going on in Victoria it is completely understandable. 

We can all hope that this horrific event has highlighted the need for a complete overhaul of nursing home licencising requirements, staffing levels and benchmarking resident/ family satisfaction

 

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born.a.girl
18 minutes ago, Romeo Void said:

We need better aged care, but we also have a lot of people in aged care that would have done just fine at home with a little extra support. 

 

The waiting lists for the extra care that can keep people at home is outrageous.

They keep announcing extra places, but that never keeps up with the people who need them, so people keep deteriorating unnecessarily.

Fortunately both my MIL and mother qualified for Vet affairs help, which is (was, I've heard differently recently) far quicker to access.

 

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Soontobegran

If the elderly parent is of sound mind it is pretty difficult to force them into anything. At this time my dad will die at home before he goes into aged care or comes to live with us. That is not us talking it is him.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a well run and loving aged care facility, the problem is that they appear to be a bit light on the ground.

No family should be made to feel guilty about not having their parent live at home. Most parents I know could not think of anything worse to be honest.

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Luci

Its such a complex issue.  But absolutely I agree with PP's that the burden of caring for elderly relatives at home would land pretty well in the lap of their female relatives. Unpaid, undervalued work.  Any men out there thinking of quitting their "important" job and taking on the 24 hour care of their ageing parents? I doubt it. 

My Grandmother is 94 and in an Aged Care Home.  Fortunately it is quite nice where she is and she is well looked after.  But her needs are complex. She is still of completely sound mind but she can't walk and lifting equipment is required to take her to the toilet and to have a shower.  She has been in Aged Care for 4 years and may well live for a few more years. My parents are in their mid 70's.  Even if they wanted to care for her it would be completely impossible. 

 

 

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purplekitty

The support and funding for someone to keep living at home if that is their choice is abysmal.

The Fed. Gov. has privatised as much as possible with the subsequent sh*tshow expected.

Recently they attempted privatise ACAT assessment as well but had to back down.

Many older people do want to stay in their own homes and with a little support this could be managed.

 

Some of the reports about Aged Care homes may seem like exaggeration or that they are a small minority.Unfortunately they are not.

It seems voters don't care.

Ee4iLoPUcAALHDZ?format=jpg&name=900x900

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born.a.girl
11 minutes ago, purplekitty said:

The support and funding for someone to keep living at home if that is their choice is abysmal.

The Fed. Gov. has privatised as much as possible with the subsequent sh*tshow expected.

Recently they attempted privatise ACAT assessment as well but had to back down.

Many older people do want to stay in their own homes and with a little support this could be managed.

 

Some of the reports about Aged Care homes may seem like exaggeration or that they are a small minority.Unfortunately they are not.

It seems voters don't care.

Ee4iLoPUcAALHDZ?format=jpg&name=900x900

I was horrified to read that.   The ACAT assessors were fantastic when we dealt with them, and it was a few times for each person.

In particular before the first one for each person, I just happened to be the one to talk to them before the appointment (mother's medical POA and went to all appointments with my MIL) and they were amazing.

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