Bernardine Kennedy

A chatty and newsy blog about author Bernardine Kennedy, her books, her writing career and her life. Check out the latest news, views and recommendations along with the occasional irrelevant photo.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sheds and other bits and pieces

Bet you can't believe I'm here so soon after the last blog! I'm determined to catch up on myself with EVERYTHING. We'll see. This is just a short blog though!

Below is a link to the piece about my Shed/Office that is on the Shedworking Blog. I think I mentioned this last time.
Ian is not over-impressed because he thinks his shed is better! Of course it isn't........ Ian's shed is below and mine is below that. Mine is obviously superior and I also have a Buddha to look after me. He only has a squirrel.

Now I have to get to grips with the Old School piece.

On friday we're all going to a 'Glitz and Glamour Ball' in aid of daughters friend Jessicas charity in Vietnam that supports orphans. Should be fun. I'm not doing a ballgown and tiara but hope to scrub up a bit! I'm excited to be going out after having to miss a few nights out recently.

For anyone who wants a laugh,
I so remember the film and the song and even now people of a certain age break into song when I tell them my name!

Anyone been following the sad story of the elderly lady who was taken from her daughters home by what i can only describe as a snatch squad from Social Services. Well it reminded me of how badly my own mother was treated so I penned the following to the Mail and it was printed on Monday.

..............................'Why am I not surprised that Social Workers / police et al stormed in to remove an elderly woman from her daughters care?
when my mother, who still lived independently with our support, was taken into hospital it turned into a nightmare and not just because of the lousy state of the ward and the indifferent attitude of the Care staff.
The assorted services were determined she wasn't going back home, they held meetings without me and even went so far as to call in the owners of local nursing homes to find one to take her. When I said that there was no way she was just going anywhere without my approval they over-rode me and tried to arrange it anyway.
All they were concerned with was how much her property was worth and how much she had saved.
My mother was 95, lived just around the corner to me and had constant support from the family with all of us visiting, doing her shopping and caring for her. All was well until she was taken to hospital following an attack of diverticulitis.
Yes she was difficult and demanding, yes she would shout and be rude to the staff but hey! at 95 she deserved a bit of leeway!
Her health went downhill rapidly and she died on the ward before they could cart her off to a care home against her, and our, wishes.
I feel the way Mrs Figg and her daughter were treated is abominable but at the same time I'm not suprised. The system now comes before the individual and that is so wrong'................

Any comments? Experiences?

Must go and do some work after playing around on twitter etc for far too long.


  • At 10:18 AM , Blogger Lesley Cookman said...

    Actually bought the Mail to read it, and made Philly read it too. Excellent - also about Sunday Times (?) taking an interest.

    Love the shed piece. Would he like mine?


  • At 6:33 PM , Blogger JuJu said...

    I heard your interview on woman's hour today. My grandmother is currently in a similar situation to your mother's (widowed, some difficulty living at home followed by hospitalisation) and we are looking at where she might live following discharge.
    Social services have had contact for quite a long time and I recognised some of your experiences, but I felt that many of the problems you described were caused not by procedure but bad communication on their part.

    It sounds as though once your mother was in hospital they were reluctant for her to go home. This must have been distressing for you, but it might have been based on medical experience. Elderly people do not thrive in hospital, and a second admission in a short period of time is usually a sign that living at home is not working. They would then look for another option. They should have done more to include you in this process, but I am sure you can see their concerns.
    When my grandmother came home from her second hospital admission, she quickly suffered two falls, dehydration and a UTI and was back in hospital within a fortnight, but had someone told us that discharging her into a nursing home would be for the best we wouldn’t have believed them until we tried the distressing alternative.

    Your opinion that their insistence on a care home was financially motivated was addressed on the programme in the social woker’s response but not very clearly. Social services are only financially better off with the care home option if the elderly person owns a home but has no cash. The council would fund at-home care in the event that the elderly person’s pension could not cover their expenses. A move to a care home would mean their house, now surplus to their requirements, would be counted in a means test, and its value would disqualify them from state benefits. It doesn’t sound like your mother was receiving benefits at home, so they would not have had a financial incentive to move her.

    On the subject of the untalkative home carers with the inconsistent hours- It's normal for them to be erratic in their timekeeping- they are visiting a lot of people and might need to stay a little longer in one place than another. We communicated with my grandmother’s by means of notes and the occasional meeting with a social worker. They obviously did not explain this, which might have saved some upset, but on the question of their attitude, if they are being shouted at while trying to help someone it isn’t surprising that they were reluctant to get more involved- they are only human after all.

  • At 7:01 PM , Blogger Bernardine Kennedy said...

    Thanks for your comment. I would like to say in my defence that I worked within Social Services for twenty years in various departments so I do understand the system fully! The Home Care service my mother received was disgraceful (I received a written apology) even taking into account the way they have to work which I also understand.
    Did you notice that neother of the other professionals disagreed with me? Very telling IMO.
    I hope all goes well with your grandmother, sometimes there are variations in individual workers and areas.
    I am hoping the new proposals will rationalise the service across the country.
    Maybe check the link to the Sunday Telegraph article which is more detailed. (I shall be blogging tonight/tomorrow and will put it up then).
    Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  • At 9:43 PM , Blogger JuJu said...

    No need to defend anything that you said- It's clear that there were problems, I was just surprised that the professionals in the studio didn't say much about it! With your experience in social care, you must know how easy it is to be in a damned if you do damned if you don't situation, and social workers come in for a lot of criticism, not all of it their fault or for things within their control.
    A few years ago all the press was about care orders being to easy to obtain, social workers were needlessly breaking up families, etc, now in the wake of baby p it's swung the other way.
    In a way it's good that elder care has reached the national agenda, but we must be very careful about strategising from only a handfull of examples.
    Anyway, thanks for taking an interest in my comment (and your kind wishes to my grandmother), and I'll follow what happens with interest.


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