Leading article: Neglect – in your own home

Share
Related Topics

That it took a review by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to expose the disgraceful state of home care for the elderly in England is in itself an indictment of the present system. It beggars belief that there is no routine means of monitoring the standard of the care provided by local authorities other than by invoking the Human Rights Act. That the care so often falls short – almost half the time – judged even by these most basic criteria says much about the priority it has been given.

The rapid growth in the elderly population is often cited as a long-term liability – though, of course, it also reflects the success that is longer life expectancy. The number of people requiring help to stay in their own homes is increasing, and this costs money. But it does not cost nearly as much to provide services that help people to stay in their own homes, in familiar surroundings, probably with friends and family close by, as it does to fund 24-hour care in a communal home. This is the benchmark against which the cost of care at home should be set, not outdated notions of how little it used to cost and how fewer people should qualify.

It is not hard to discern what is wrong with home care. It is mostly delegated to private companies or agencies – which would matter less if they were properly supervised by the local authorities that commission them. Staff are notoriously low paid, poorly trained and poorly managed. Many care workers rise above this; but many – as the EHRC report shows – do not. Rising bills, and now "the cuts", however, are not the only issues. Local authorities should examine the books of the companies from which they buy in services. They might be surprised, even shocked, to find out where the money goes.

Sooner rather than later, too, the greater number of older people in the population may have an upside as well as a downside. The generation whose life experience was stamped by the exigencies of war is giving way to that of the baby-boomers, who will expect more in return for the taxes and national insurance contributions they have paid. They need to speak up so loudly, and in such numbers, that their complaints cannot be ignored.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

 

Naturism criminalised: Why not being able to bare all is a bummer

Simon Usborne
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on