Hi, and welcome to my first ever blog. I am wanting to set up this space to open up the discussion about the way we care for older people within our society.
I'm going to start this by sharing an article by Madeleine Bunting from the Guardian
Our market-shaped way of life has no time for the elderly or the art of caring
She writes "Caring for others cannot be totted up according to a calculus of cost and returns. It [marketisation] denigrates and belittles the qualities needed to care, such as patience and gentleness.
What we have lost is any concept of honouring the elders, respect for their frailty, and recognition that supporting their final years before death is important for all of us - that death is part of what makes our lives meaningful."
There is an art to caring, and part of that art is to recognise qualities such as patience and gentleness. An essential key to this is empathy.
I first started working with older people when I was 19 and I currently work as a care and support worker for older people in their own homes. The reason I am in the process of setting up my own home care is because I care passionately about ensuring older people are recognised and supported.
Every one of us has an aspect within us that is ageless. It is this part of us that will never feel the number that has been assigned to us. I am 35 next month. What does this mean? Will I feel any different the day after that date on the calendar? I have heard said so many times, I can't believe I'm 78, or I'm 84 or I'm 90 or even i'm 102! Because when we go inside ourselves, there is an element that stays the same, that is forever youthful and has no age. It is the importance of recognising this in everyone that is so vital in the area of care for older people. We need to see beyond the exterior and remember that the person in front of us was also 35 at one time in their life and part of them still feels that they are. And it is remembering this fact that helps us to show the empathy necessary to provide a loving and caring service.
Claire Burton has worked with older people for many years. Her background is in Occupational Therapy. She has now set up a Holistic Home Care Community Interest Company, to deliver care to older people in and around Totnes in Devon.