Older people and institutional care

 

Sir, – Lara Marlowe, through Rosie’s story (“The 88-year-old woman who ‘escaped’ from her nursing home”, Irish Times SaturdayNews, August 18th), highlights the huge advantages for individuals living in their own space, close to amenities such as the local shops, a church or, if you still have one, the local post office, and identifies some of the barriers that the elderly must overcome.

The lack of adequate community services here is one of the biggest challenges to voluntary housing providers like ourselves helping to keep many like Rosie in their own home.

I am glad that Rosie was a pseudonym and hope that the HSE does not recognise or identify her; the list of roles listed that her home help carries out (“tidies, dusting, hoovering, etc”) and that enable her independence are outside the existing task guidelines. We are told these state the service is for personal care, dressing, cooking and washing only, and in my experience are strictly adhered to. Implementing the guidelines nudges many, like Rosie, into a nursing home.

Is it any wonder that we are so dependent on institutional care? – Yours, etc,

Dr PAUL ARMSTRONG,

(General Practitioner),

Chairman,

Habinteg Housing

Association,

Lifford, Co Donegal.