Headlines show we should all be vigilant about care of elderly

KIERAN HOWARD: Thanks very much for the hand, foot and mouth disease Louie

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Number of elderly who are abused soars 28 per cent.’

Well, that national newspaper headline is enough to put collywobbles into anyone’s soul who has a loved one in a care home (like me).

There were 105,000 suspected cases of elderly abuse reported in 2012 – 28 per cent up on the 82,000 in 2011.

It includes neglect, physical attacks, mental cruelty, and financial manipulation.

What the heck is going on in the UK’s care homes?

If your loved ones have assets (home and money), they pay the fees (£600-£1,000 plus a week).

By the end of November 2013 I’ll have paid (with Ma’s assets) more than £24,000.

That’s about 10 months’ fees.

After November Portsmouth City Council takes over a percentage of her fees, and when she runs out of money, they pay until she hangs up her earth slippers.

Back to suspected abuse in UK care homes.

Folks, I can only tell you from my experiences.

Even though I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my mother for years, she is my mother, and no-one – NO-ONE – upsets or manhandles her.

Thankfully, Ma is in an excellent care home. But on her admittance in September 2012, I told the staff straight... ‘I’m watching you’.

And I do. I watch carers and nurses, I check cleanliness (Ma and her room) and her food. She’s put on 11lbs in weight and seems very happy.

I believe relatives should be more vigilant.

Why should you feel awkward to question or make requests at the nursing home?

Many of you are paying hundreds of pounds a week for them to care for your loved ones. You have the right to complain on their behalf.

And if you don’t like the nursing home they’re in, move them to another one.

At the ends of their lives, your loved ones deserve care, respect and dignity.

On Wednesday I was the guest speaker for the Portsmouth and South East Branch of Carers UK. This is a wonderful organisation that gives information and support to ‘at home’ carers.

Don’t ‘go it alone’ like I did, talk to people who understand. Go to carersukport smouth.org.uk