Monday, December 23, 2013

Bad Spelling and Bad News!

I found this at the Courier Mail (Brisbane, Queensland's Daily Newspaper) today

"INDUGLING in exotic foods, frequently travelling and buying new cars is what many Australians expect to do in retirement despite falling well short of having the funds to do so.
To live a financially comfortable retirement couples need at least $4700 a month to afford the lifestyle they desire after work.
But Galaxy Research, commissioned by Sunsuper, surveyed more than 1500 Australians and found Australians believed they would need about $3700 a month to life comfortably in retirement.
They hoped to indulge in whatever foods they wanted (57 per cent) and to regularly travel to socialise with friends (55 per cent), dine out once a month (50 per cent), take an annual holiday within Australia (49 per cent), buy a new car (45 per cent) and travel overseas every one to two years (41 per cent)."

The rest of the article is here.

Firstly - the spelling.  "Indugling"  - clearly the writer meant "indulging" but you'd think the headline would be spelled correctly!  It is not rare to see these errors.  Shame.

The detail of the article is interesting.  I know my income is below the level to live comfortably.  So where do you get the funds when you have retired and there is no more income than the pension.  Life will be tough.

It is a little ironic that in the same news as above, complete with spelling error is the news that our education system is failing students at this time.  Read the article here.

We seniors have been "watching" the education of our offspring and know that often/usually we older folk can spell, add/subtract/multiply quicker and with little or no errors, and also know our geography and history much better.  Still, we are outdone on the technology that seems to drive the lives of the younger generations.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Housing for Seniors

I am "travelling solo" now - in my 70'th year and currently exploring housing for me.  Actually I am happy where I am - renting a duplex but finding it hard financially, and getting a bit of flack from my family as I am "too far away" for them.  Not too far when it comes to them wanting a babysitter, but too far for them to drive to visit me.  It is just 45 minutes on a motorway for one of my offspring, though the other does live a further distance away.

I have a three bedroom duplex - I only need two bedrooms really although when grandchildren come to stay the third bedroom is most useful.  It was the best that was available to me - that I thought I could afford.

I have searched (Australian) sites for seniors rental, and generally all I find are one bedroom "apartments" with meals included.  Eeeeek!  I don't want to eat "institutional" food.  I've seen it.  I'm not ready for that at the moment, and I don't want to meld my life with any group of folk.  I know there are benefits in this sort of living "ordinary" bathroom/toilet, and a small lounge/sitting room with virtually no kitchen (why would you need one when all the food is provided?????!!!) - in fact almost a "dog box" as I call them.  Car parking is "under cover" but pretty primitive and storage is non existent.

There is an Australian program (NRAS) which I may not be eligible for anyway - but it does provide housing at reasonable rental but they are mostly houses. 

Most of the seniors housing is for purchase.  And while I may have a few dollars in the bank I cannot afford to purchase. 

I have friends in government housing - one has a two bedroomed house and unit - with stairs to the bedrooms upstairs.  Downstairs is very well set out - kitchen, small lounge and dining and lovely outdoor area.  She has been there for many years - though is under government pressure to move to something smaller.

Other friends are in what I call "dog boxes" with little more than a small bedroom (with no wardrobes!!!), a kitchenette, a tiny lounge room (if one is to dine there, there is no space in one of them for even a small dining table and two chairs.  My friend eats on the lounge chair or outside on the narrow "patio")  She has no storage space.  The bathroom is tiny and doubles for the laundry so it is always small - and as it has shelving everything looks cluttered and overflowing.

I do believe that it is unreasonable to expect people to downsize to such an extent that they do not have room for an overnight guest, visiting grandchildren, or someone to stay overnight with them when they have a health issue.

Government housing does not have a caretaker or anyone on site to "monitor" behaviour, incidents, problems - each individual has to "fight" for things to be fixed, improved, resolved by contacting a bureaucrat.

I can think of nothing more depressing than having to confine myself to a small apartment without room for my hobbies, without adequate storage space - even for my clothes.

The reality is that there is little choice and few vacancies - and certainly very minimal options for those who are not cashed up. 

I do think women fare worse - men generally have minimal possessions, don't like to cook and enjoy it when others cook for them, and generally are less fuzzy about food. 

Even their living expenses are often less than women (think cosmetics, hair care, health care, and items that men never have to consider. 

My friends appear to have fared less well after marriage breakups, (how often do I hear that somehow the bloke got more than his "fair share" of things when they went their separate ways?)

I must do some research (quality research that is) to find out what people want.  Does the government do any research or do they just build to a price? I suspect the latter. 

I remember a few years ago I rescued a bloke who had slipped and fallen into a creek opposite our house.  I "saved" him and some passing young folk drove him to his government unit which was not far from where I lived - in fact in the same complex as a friend.  She lives in one of the "dogboxes" I referred to earlier.  He lived alone in a place with much more space - with very little furnishings or anything else in it.  It was a stark contrast to what I had seen at my friends.

Sadly for him, he was moved into something with more care as he was clearly deteriorating.  My friend has lived in her small unit for many years and would have loved to be moved into something bigger.

I wonder if any reader who is "senior" would comment on how they would like to live.  What do you think should be the minimum standard for housing for seniors?


Donating One's Body for Science

I learned recently that one could donate one's body for science.  I made enquiries and now have a couple of documents to sign (and get witnessed).  I suspect it is done in major cities around the world, but I had never explored it before.

Medical students and scientists welcome the donation of a body for scientific or study purposes - and I reason that since I no longer want it when I am dead, someone may use it. 

It does require some thinking time - and I am ok with it - in fact don't care what is done with my body when it is of no value to me any more.  There are no great benefits to me or the family - other than the fact that eventually, when it is finished with, the body is cremated at no cost to the deceased's family, and the ashes are returned to the designated family.  I plan to leave instructions for somewhere for my ashes to be left.  As I was born in Adelaide - I wouldn't mind that some of them be scattered somewhere there - and as a Queenslander, I guess the bulk of them should remain here.  I don't think any family member would be keen to keep my ashes anywhere - so I am ready to sign.

Not that I am planning to "go" any time soon - but I want to be organised about it.

I hope by mid 2014 that I have in order a folder with all my wishes etc within it - so that many decisions are made by ME - allowing my family to just grieve and say goodbye.

This website contains much information about body donation.  Click here.
(One of my wishes is that purple flowers be on display for any memorial service for me - I'd prefer purple orchids but it will depend on the season!)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Nursing Home Sadness

My mother is in a nursing home in Adelaide.  Sadly, this is the reality for her.  Sadly she has dementia and lives in a strange world. Her own world.  Sadly her physical condition is deteriorating. 

Unfortunately I do not see her often  as I live in Brisbane, and though I have been to Adelaide three times this year, I regret that I cannot see her very often.  My sister visits her weekly, and finds it so difficult to do as sometimes my mother is "cranky" and sometimes she is so confused that she doesn't recognise her. It is so hard on her - and I feel sorry for her.

How sad it is for many of our seniors living in nursing homes that appear to be so understaffed and/or staffed with folk who don't seem to care - or have not the time to do for the old people.  My mother seldom gets to wash her hands before a meal, and now if finding it difficult to feed herself, but there is too few staff to do all that needs to be done for the "oldies".

So what can one do?  No one knows what to do....

I wish I knew what to do...


Never call an ambulance for me.

I found his disturbing article on a website yesterday.  Read it here.  While I am certainly not keen for the "Never" bit - I would argue that in some cases one should think hard about calling an ambulance.

I recall once when visiting my mother in her nursing home, that she appeared to be unconscious when I arrived.  I did everything to "wake" her without success before going to the nursing staff to ask how long my mother had been like that.  The senior nurse was all in a flurry, checked on mum's vitals, and agreed that she was unconscious and set out to call an ambulance to take her to hospital.

Now mum was 97, so I wasn't keen for her to have aggressive treatment - as much as I love her, perhaps her time had come.  I am not in favour of spending a lot of government funds on such an occasion.  The staff knew that I had been a nurse, and when I offered to sit with her all day, they gratefully accepted.

I called my sister, who called my daughter and the three of us sat with her for the next few hours.  As I am familiar with death, I was not as disturbed by it all, as were the other two.  Oddly after about four hours she woke from whatever sort of sleep she was in, and has been fine ever since.  Clearly she had not required hospital treatment - and it was just some sort of "event" that resolved itself.  She celebrated her 98th birthday only a few weeks ago and is no worse than she was then.

In many ways her time has come, but she hangs on. She is relatively happy some days.

The article by an intensive care nurse is quite long, but it should make any reader think hard before calling an ambulance.

I certainly do not want to be kept going unless I have a good quality of life - and don't want thousands of dollars keeping me alive if my "use-by-date" is up.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Challenges of Ageing

It was International Nurses Day this week (May 12th) and I had been invited to attend a function at an aged care place, where I used to work.  While not a nurse these days, I certainly identify with much of what they talk about, and I found it very interesting.

One area that was of particular interest was about 'retirement living' - one of the speakers spoke of the 5 Elements that she believes are important for quality living for those who are ageing.  The lady is Choicee who development a wonder retirement place called "Elements" -- I remember going there when it was a bare patch of early with a small office in the front - as they were already selling off the plan.

I am going to visit her place next week, on her invitation, and I look forward to it as housing for me is of big concern.  I don't know where I am going to live after my house sitting comes to an end.  I can't afford to rent, and I can't afford to buy.

In the Courier Mail this morning was an article about the government housing woes in this state (Queensland).  The new government since the elections in March is coming to grips with some of the challenges they have - with a state that is financially troubled, with many issues that need a big spend - and there is little $$$'s to do so.

The Labor government, which one would think should put more funds into housing those who are unable to afford their own homes for whatever reason, and who are usually Labor voters as they believe that Labor governments will do more for them that the so called 'elitist' conservatives.  (Liberal or in Queensland they are called the Liberal National Party).  Well, folks, you are wrong.

The article reports that "There is no state Budget allocation for a single new house" - that is that the Labor government had no plans to build anymore state houses when there are 68,000 "battlers" waiting for social housing - and that they will wait in vain.    Also that there are more than 13,000 single people living in three-bedroom family homes owned by the state.

On point of interest is that there was "more money put aside for literary awards than new public housing."  And didn't many scream when the new Premier scrapped the Literary Awards as a cost saving measure.

So Labor governments look after the 'workers' and the lower 'class'?  NOT.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nursing Home care in Qld fails basic standards

The Courier Mail today ran a story about the poor standards of some nursing homes in Queensland - I am sure the same could be said for nursing homes across Australia.  It is appalling.  I have been incensed that our governments spend so much money on education, and totally neglect the older members of our communities.    It has been something that I have been talking about for a long time - it is hard.  It is hard because one doesn't know that the conditions of your family member is mirrored elsewhere.

Someone suggested we move our mother.  What?  Despite what we see as her neglect, SHE is somewhat happy and doesn't want another move.  We have already moved her in a failed attempt to find better.  It was better - but that was in the early days.  Family members do fear speaking up lest their relative is badly treated as a result.  Staff often do their best - but there is often a lack of training, a lack of staff, a lack of good direction from their superiors and cutting costs at all levels.

Read the article here.