Letter: Waiting to die?

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The Independent Online
SHEILA HAYDEN'S letter (16 March) paints a picture of rheumy-eyed elderly people sitting around waiting to die. But it doesn't have to be that way. Those of us who are in a position to help change the future of residential care should take steps now to ensure that care is driven by the needs and wishes of residents, rather than what is convenient for management and staff.

The Abbeyfield Society, a charity which runs more than 60 residential care homes, has conducted research to find out what residents actually want from providers of care and housing. The results make salutary reading. It is clear that, in general, respondents were happy with the quality of services received, but nevertheless there was plenty of evidence to suggest that minority preferences often go unacknowledged. We are now planning to implement appropriate change. Long life can be worth it, but only if care providers give life value by paying careful attention to the physical and mental needs of the individual.

ANGELA WHITCHER

Head of Public Affairs

The Abbeyfield Society

St Albans, Hertfordshire

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