In my time with ExtraCare Charitable Trust, we often did very adventurous things with our elderly residents. Sailing, climbing, canoeing, absailing and horse riding were all accomplished by the hundreds of residents who went to the Calvert Trust Outward Bound Centre in Devon. The oldest, frailest and most disabled elderly people were able to conquer their fears and achieve great things. It was an inspiring experience.
Even more scary were the residents who met the ‘Animal Man’ and went walking with wolves, or had the opportunity to hold a tarantula, wrap a boa constrictor snake around themselves or fly a bird of prey. Not to mention those ten brave souls who helped sail a tall ship across the English Channel, or the 93 year old who looped the loop in a glider.
One event that some residents dreamt up for themselves was to go swimming with sharks at a Sea Centre on Merseyside. It is one of the few things I did not choose to join in.
The risks were all fully assessed in advance, and there was the support of professional coaching staff as well as the constant encouragement and reassurance of the ExtraCare Team.
The residents survived these challenges with renewed self-confidence and regained self-esteem.
At Southern Cross, they too are, in a much less supportive way, also giving their 31,000 elderly residents the experience of swimming with sharks, but this time there are only hollow reassurances about safety and security. The senior management and directors have been taking risks with residents’ lives for a long time. Now the residents must be in a situation of constant worry and concern about their future, given the perilous conditions caused by Southern Cross.
In the midst of this financial melt down, the Southern Cross management team even have the temerity to launch a document referred to as a “National Care Strategy which they say they hope will be adopted by everyone.
What an insensitive sick joke!
It says to me this management team has no compassion and no regard for their residents.