Elderly people have taken to the streets in protest to save their wardens
Thank you for sending us your comments.
A selection of your views are published below.
Panorama: Gimme Shelter was broadcast on BBC One at 8.30pm on Monday, 24 August 2009.
The loss of sheltered wardens is only part of larger issue affecting toady's senior citizens. Those responsible for providing support through the Supporting People programme can rightly point out that with their limited resources they must target those most in need - which often aren't those who happen to live in sheltered housing. The vast majority of older people live in privately owned and rented homes, and have just as much need for support. But there is an enormous issue about how support in old age is paid for - whether care or simple warden-type support. Panorama showed children commenting on their parents situation - but the truth is that more and more people face later life without close family support. Today's older people paid national insurance for their old age - a social contract that Governments have severed in the face of voters who want to pay less and less tax. No wonder people losing their wardens, reliant on state pensions, or those now being asked to pay more and more for care - are angry. But it is those of us in a society that has voted selfishly for thirty years without a concern for them that they should be angry at. I expect that we shall be angry about the lack of services and support when we get old. But we can't complain that we have been paying enough into the system all our lives to expect much, can we ?
- Charlie Hislop
I'm a carer I think you should keep the shelter homes open for the elderly because they are not on there own they have other people around then to talk to and go out this is the only thing that keeps there life going.
It is not only the withdrawal of wardens that is a problem - what about wardens who are ineffectual. I visit a 98 year old blind friend in sheltered housing where the warden would not clear up broken glass after vandals had smashed the window. My friend had to sit in her chair for 6 hours till her son came home from work to sweep up the glass for her. And she can't even attend the regular residents meetings because she can't get down to the lounge without help (she is not disabled but needs a guide because of her blindness). The warden should either assist her herself or arrange for someone else to help her to the meetings. In this case, if the warden was withdrawn, nobody would notice!
- Jane Troughton
How depressing to hear such trite, uncaring comments from public sector spokespersons on this programme. On a scale of value, respect and appreciation , it is evident that the elderly in Great Britain score very low. Makes one almost thankful to be an expatriate!
- Carole Hernan
I work as a resident warden (we are now called scheme co-ordinators!). The WORST thing about the job is living on site. The residents expect you to be available 24/7 and you have no privacy whatsoever. Why were no wardens interviewed in the programme? all we saw were the views of the residents, most of whom are better off and live in better accommodation than the wardens looking after them. Sheltered schemes are for people who can live independently with housing support. We know the ones who need a daily visit and would never deny them this. But the majority of people living in sheltered accommodation are very capable of looking after themselves. No mention was made of the Supporting People system, which constantly updates residents' needs and provides increased support as they age or become less healthy. This is a major part of our work. In general, I found the programme alarmist and biased, which is not what I expect from the BBC.
I enjoyed your programme last night and could relate to everything said. My Mum has been in sheltered accommodation for the last 7-8 years. When she first lived there she had a warden who was able to visit her everyday, but in recent years the warden (now called a support worker - or something like that) has had her responsibilities widened and was able to check up on Mum once or twice a week. This is through no fault of the warden, who is a lovely person and has done more than her job description I'm sure to look after Mum, for which I cannot thank her enough. It seems to be the fault of the local Council/government. I have also had a fight on my hand over the last 18 months to get Mum into a proper care home as she has dementia and has increasingly been unable to care for herself. The amount of phone calls I've had, forms I've filled in and weeks in between each piece of contact has been ludicrous, but thanks to one chap in particular, she has finally moved into a care home, although on respite care it is hoped to make it more permanent. But yet again waiting for more panels to sit and agreements to be made, including the funding panel which will decide how to pay for her in the care home, her pension or her savings! That's another story no doubt.
- Pat Matthews
I have had experience of working in health and social care in the UK and in Spain. Whilst in Spain I noticed how much more families care for their family members. Families are much more able to look after people in a personalised way and are much more able to provide the emotional support people need. I feel this program failed to cover the issue of families not caring for their older members instead passing them off to the state.