Dr Ros Altmann
Central to this is the need to end the notion of care as a “burden”, and to ensure that people receive continued respect and love in their later years, says Saga Director-General Dr Ros Altmann.
Saga welcomes the recommendations made by the Commission on Improving Dignity in Care for Older People regarding the importance of compassion in care staff. This must come, however, from a societal change towards older people in care, not just from the staff who work in it.
Ros Altmann explained: “Attitudes towards older and vulnerable people in care must go through a cultural change and Saga’s aim is to ensure all of society, not just the staff in care, has a more positive and compassionate attitude towards caring for older people.
“We need everyone, including policymakers and the media, to adjust to the new reality: stop thinking of care as a burden and reflect instead that it’s wonderful that people are living into their eighties, nineties and even hundreds, and having fulfilling lives.
“In our ageing population, a cultural change is necessary; people deserve to be treated with the same respect and love that they have received throughout their lives.
“More and more people are receiving and needing care, and the cost and consideration this warrants, naturally puts enormous pressure on systems. But this does not mean recruitment for those working in care should be an afterthought, thorough training, a positive attitude and above all, compassion, is essential in staff who look after older people in need of care.
“How well we look after one another when we are in need is a badge of what sort of society we are. We need the Government’s full support if we are to ensure our badge is one of success.”