I am in the latter part of chronological involvement through my 70’s and am confronted with the future. Residential care for the aged will never be for me. My preferences would be death before being committed to aged care. There are things, insoluble things, that can never be fixed. Government talks about fix-ups and there have been commissions and inquiries galore – but nothing really changes.

The issues that confront my thinking may not be all that palatable but they are real. I will probably attract criticism for ‘unfashionable’ comment but that is no real worry.

• Too many aged care providers are concerned about profiting from the ‘business’ of aged care. The facilities are centres for making money for owners, be they individuals or company controlled.

• Residents are regarded as ‘cash cows’ who have to shell out big dollars for tenancy rights and premises maintenance. If they die, most of what they have paid, remains with the institution and is both refundable to relatives.

• Food is often both scarce and basic. Food costs are kept to minimal levels.

• Staff are very, very poorly paid. There is little extrinsic job satisfaction.

• Only the most basic of training is offered to staff. Intrinsic staffer satisfaction is of mo concern to owners and managers of these businesses. Many staff are not happy people.

• Many staff, notwithstanding protestation to the contrary, are minimally trained. The majority have different cultural mores and ethnic expectations to residents.

• Very little care is taken to ensure that transmissible diseases are not spread from staff to residents and from resident to resident.

• Residents are not looked after according to specific needs.

• Many staff are challenged by residents who, because of their deterioration, may be abusive, aggressive and verbally/ physically threatening to staff. Not all residents are compliant.

• Notwithstanding the above, there are staff members who engage in bullying behaviour toward residents.

• Residents are often confined and boredom sets in.

Aged care COULD be fixed, but that will not happen while the above circumstances continue to exist.

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