Having finally found a reliable Care Agency, I am still so dismayed at the actual care system. They are all (well mostly) lovely ladies and come in smiling and actually turn up on time. They are usually very efficient, speedy and do all they need to do, but they just don’t talk. I can understand why my mum feels so isolated and lonely.
The carer arrives, says hello, goes about her business with a flurry, then departs. Absolutely no communication in the meantime, unless they are talking to someone on their phone. So the elderly person just sits there all day on their own virtually isolated from the rest of the world. Yes their needs may be met, if they are lucky, but a few minutes talking about their day, the weather outside or even asking how they are would go such a long, long way.
Age UK provide a befriending service. We did try it a couple of times and it was really good, but the people tend not to stay around.
Again, having mum come to live with me has brought home the harsh reality of actually living on your own when you are housebound – just sitting in front of the tv all day and having no friends still alive or anyone to chat to. The evenings are the worse.
My mum is lucky in that she does have one friend who pops in once a week and her sister visits, plus me now, but what about all those other people who don’t have this. There was a ‘running group’ I heard about once, where runners would pop into an elderly neighbour on their route. I don’t know whatever happened to that, and I can imagine there are privacy/security/safeguarding and all sorts of other issues to consider, but honestly if you live next to an elderly neighbour, I cant stress enough the importance of actually popping in if only once a week to just have a quick chat. Just do it.