As 2020 draws to a close I, like so many others, am reflecting on the experience of older people and their families during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Public services for older people have long been in crisis, with funding at the very heart of it.
Way back in January we were waiting expectedly for the outcome of yet another green paper seeking once more to address the question – how should long term care for older people be funded?
And then Coronavirus hit ! Inevitably the green paper has been kicked into the long grass whilst all efforts have focused on survival.
The Coronavirus Act directed NHS, Local Authorities and The Care Quality Commission to reconfigure services to save lives and protect the most vulnerable.
We have seen:
Thousands of lives saved.
The nation come together to clap for carers
Captain Sir Tom Moore inspire the nation to get walking
But sadly we have also seen:
Families unable to visit their loved ones as care homes strive to protect their residents from infection.
Older people isolated in their own homes.
Essential support services for older people and their carers in the community close.
Interruption to non coronavirus virus healthcare services.
The impact this has had on the nation’s physical and mental health.
Thankfully the light is now at the end of the tunnel with the rollout of the much awaited vaccine and there is optimism that life might just start returning to normal during 2021.
The focus can then return to ensuring that older people receive quality care in an environment of their own choosing and are fairly assessed for the financial support that they may be entitled to.
Never before has independent care advice been more valuable and I thank Employees Matter for providing opportunities to myself and other professionals to offer guidance and support to receptive audiences during these difficult times.
Claire Edwards is an Eldercare Consultant and a regular speaker for Employees Matter