We cannot put off any further preparing for the ticking time-bomb that is the crisis in care for older people. The care we would like to see, as well as the care they need. This has to be addressed now: we’ve been fire-fighting the current situation for long enough. Despite a lot of good work, there’s not been enough progress in finding a solution.
Our society often looks simply at short-term solutions. I believe there is a need for a medium-term strategy at the very least, to meet the needs of Wales’ ageing population. There are several strands to this.
Some people are paying a vast amount, sometimes as much as £800 per week, to be looked after or for their parents to be looked after. That’s unacceptable as well as, often, unaffordable. Events have shown that some providers are also unable to provide a service that meets the needs of our most vulnerable people.
And this is something that affects all of us, whether as older people now, whether they are our parents, whether they are us in the years ahead. And, crucially, this isn’t just about the elderly. Because we’re in the fortunate situation where more of us are living longer, sadly we may often have more complicated medical issues. We know that many older people spend too long in a hospital bed, when in fact they should be in a setting which better meets their needs. That has implications for the provision of health services for all generations.
One of the toughest issues I faced during the Assembly election campaign was that of concern about our hospitals. They face considerable challenges, particularly in a rural area like Mid and West Wales where there are also limited transport links and infrastructure, both for accessing services and recruiting staff. Looking at how we can better provide care for older people is a crucial part of the whole jigsaw.
Over the coming months, I’ll be speaking with those working in the care sector, hospitals, older people themselves to see if we can come up with a comprehensive strategy to tackle this. I think we can. I’d be interested in hearing your views. You can find me on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ElunedMorganAM