Care Home Calamity

“40% of Care homes are not fit for purpose”

screams the front page of the Daily Mail on August 7th 2017

No news there then.     In fact I am surprised the figure is so low.  Most care homes are not fit for purpose and never have been.     Few people move into them voluntarily.      Most go there because there is nowhere else to go —– or because they are put there by relatives who can no longer cope.

Care Homes for the elderly have never been ‘homes’, they are warehouses for older people. From the 1980’s they ceased to be operated by well-meaning carers and became money-making machines for home owners and later, venture capital investors.

Initially this private sector market was welcomed by Central Government as a way of coping with growing numbers of frail older people, without having to provide public capital for Local Authorities or Housing Associations.    Only when excessive profits were being made did they start to regulate the poor standards of care being provided.    Better space requirements, single rooms and en suite toilets were belatedly introduced.     Training standards for care staff were demanded but not effectively delivered, because levels of pay stayed low and staff turnover was high.   Now forty years on the Government has proposed to improve wages, but risks reducing profit margins to a level which will make homes less attractive to investors.

These latest headlines in the Daily Mail are commenting on the fact that more and more Care Homes are failing to meet even basic standards of care.    The RSPCA looks after dogs better than we look after many older people in care.

Residential Care Homes were a policy that was never wanted by older people, but it has taken successive Governments of all political persuasions forty years to realise that this is a


Now the big question is what are they going to do about it ?

  • The immediate answer is NOTHING.
  • The reality is that Care Homes can’t be closed because there is no alternative in the short-term.
  • The ever-increasing number of  frail older people makes it unlikely even in the  next decade or more.
  • One radical approach might be to NATIONALISE THEM.
  • Default on the unreasonable loan debts, prosecute the failing home owners and transfer the homes to a new SOCIAL CARE CORPORATION.
  • You could then introduce staff training programmes with formal qualifications linked to significantly increased pay.
  • The higher revenue costs could be financed by requiring residents who can afford it, to pay higher fees from the sale of their houses.

All of these ideas have been discussed over the years but none of them have been taken up. Because of politicians lack of honesty, older people and their relatives have been led to believe that either social care is free if they have limited resources, or at least they can keep their own homes if they are a home owner.  This has been “an elephant in the room” for decades, but there will be no solution without addressing this issue.

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1 Response to Care Home Calamity

  1. davidwfreeman237 says:

    An Open Letter.
    Dear All,
    The Caring Industry to Retire Into!
    I am slightly perplexed at the nature of the recent headlines [WE 19 August 2017], in the media, concerning “Care in old age”. [Some say the golden years of life.]
    The organisation ‘BUPA’ are reputedly looking for investment, as the headlines have it? However what I cannot really understand what is the commitment, and commercial/financial interest of the BUPA organisation? According to my trawl of their web site, I feel they [BUPA] are an international company, with divisions into health, welfare of clients and families of all ages.
    The point I wish to make is that the investors in this organisation are appearing to be centring on the ‘Care Home Provision side for the Elderly’ and the emotive headlines they can invoke on the political classes, and the ordinary citizens within the UK, with a ‘’Begging Bowl’’ held aloft to the UK government of the day. The financing of care homes and their provision appear to be a difficult question to answer? To which I trust the politicians of the day can consider, with understanding!
    From my own perspective, I am confused and wonder if as maybe has been suggested the ‘’CARE HOME INDUSTRY’’ is nationalised as a possible solution? The existing “Care Home Industry” both in the commercial sector, charitable sector and public entities are concerned, and what one needs a is a more social and with guaranteed financial return, maybe over a greater period of time for an investments financial return than at present, so that society can reflect and become more philanthropic in our outlook, or viewpoint, with a responsible attitude that the end user [Us the resident] pays an economic fee/rent/ investment return, for our allotted retirement- Care Home apartment-
    With respect to health, and cost of living support during the period of occupancy of a ‘Care Home/retirement residency, then as a nation we must address the issues of what is standard living income overall, that can sustain accommodation-sustenance, health and welfare for the aging population within the UK, and yet have strength to invoke a more vibrant immigration policy to offer self-help to those that can help themselves, and encourage these/those immigrants to both invest in the UK, and their homeland to help stem the tide of wanton mass migration, without fighting in their own backyard {country for which is just and honourable and has an honourable way of living}. We the UK through the media and its distressing images in the media cannot support the world alone? Unless we are given the beliefs and will of the other world nations that they [The nations], and wish our help and assistance and are willing to fight for their cause, and beliefs.
    I have come a long way from my original view point of “care homes for the elderly” within the UK. I can still vote, maybe not physically fight: However my teachings and beliefs in life have taught me and guided me as to what is right and wrong, then to listen. We have to use the UK treasury and the tax system wisely and fair to all, with hope and a little humility and guidance to those people and persons, who may have become non entities under the banner of a commercial conglomerate companies, and have through diligence made monies both for them- selves personally, and their organisation: Distributing a portion of the commercial/financial gain to the hardworking and honest citizens of the UK, who may face their retirement in circumstances that they maybe had not anticipated.

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