Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 09:31 UK

Your views: care for the elderly

When Today reporter Jon Manel asked for people's experiences of elderly care on the programme, he was overwhelmed by the response.

Elderly people and their families, carers, doctors and social workers contacted the programme in their hundreds to share their experiences.

I am old, nearly 88. I live alone. While I am not seriously ill, I am not well. I am trying to get up enough courage to walk outside - a place I haven't been for over a month.

I feel doctors consider me expendable. When they send me for hospital tests they don't bother to tell me the results. I have to telephone them. They don't know what is wrong with me, but they won't say so.

Murray Wren

In my first job, I rushed to answer bells as soon as they rang - I was ridiculed by the other staff, and told: "Sit down, she can wait." I found this appalling, and went anyway.

At the home where I was working this evening, a lady, nearly blind, and immobile in her room, asked if she could have a cup of coffee.

I surreptitiously whizzed to the kitchen and made her one - she was so grateful. It took all of two to three minutes.

Anonymous agency care worker

As an art student I worked weekend shifts in a nursing home; it was horrific how one is thrown into the deep end from the outset.

Anyone can get a job as an auxiliary nurse in a care home, and usually it's the unqualified, less competent members of society that do so as the work is unrewarding, underpaid and largely very unpleasant.

James Dwelly

Why is it that others who have never worked and claimed benefits/unemployment benefit should have the same for free?

My parents have been taxpayers all their life. Is it fair, then, that they and many others in the same situation should have to fund benefit claimants all over again?

Jenny Goss

For my husband and I, trying to find our way through the Social Services system as two reasonably articulate, compos mentis people nearly drove us to despair.

I dread to think what coping with the system must be like for the partner of an elderly person, or people less articulate, or vulnerable in some way.

Bridget Buckingham

I really fear for the elderly in care today as a great number of these homes are purely money-driven and many owners are only concerned with the balance sheet.

Care for the elderly is a concept that has become meaningless and, to be honest, I have found more sensitivity, nursing experience and care in the kennels where I leave my dogs when necessary than I have found in some of these homes.

Jaime Valles

I am amazed at how hospital staff can get away with treating people so badly.

If someone did not feed or water an animal they would be prosecuted, but it seems to be acceptable for hospital staff to do it to vulnerable elderly patients.

Jane Roberts

She [my mother] is now in a Jewish Care home, where she has blossomed. The home is - homely. The staff are very caring.

Although my mother has virtually no memory, she still plays Scrabble, writes and draws. There are different activities every day, and regular entertainment.

Although the fact of dementia is tragic, my sister and I feel my mother is in the best place. We see her regularly, she has 24-hour care, is safe and stimulated.

Jacki Reason

My 94-year-old mother is in a home in her home town, and couldn't be happier or better cared for despite failing health and the onset of senility.

They try to keep the fees down and their standard of caring up. My American relatives were amazed at the family atmosphere in that financially struggling home.

Nicki Quy

Care homes are as bad as hospitals. My father is blind - he was left with excrement on his hands; left alone so that he regularly fell over.

People are frightened of whistleblowing in case they lose their place in an affordable local care home.

Linda Camp

Diary of a social worker
03 Jun 08 |  UK


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