Aging is inevitable, and no one can avoid it. Some of us age gracefully, others try all methods to retain youthful looks, but there is no cure to aging because it is not an illness. Recently, a consumer group branded elderly home care as ‘shocking and disgraceful’ in the United Kingdom. Inadequate care provided to elderly people, and lack of funding in UK has caused this. Examples given by the consumer group of negligence included an elderly lady being left alone in the dark for hours without food or drink, and another elderly lady was left without a walking frame. In Erbil, our standards of care in elderly homes have yet to reach an acceptable level, and we can learn from European countries that it is extremely difficult to find suitable carers within elderly homes.
Erbil’s only care home has been redeveloped and renovated recently. They were moved from military like halls where they had no privacy between the genders to separate halls, with a small adjoined garden, living room, kitchen and hallway. The carers are limited in number, but still have a healthy relationship with those in care. The head of the care house has come up with multiple ways to improve the level of care provided to the elderly, which is significantly better than the care they received before. However, despite recent changes there are several necessary modifications that are needed within the institution so that an internationally accepted level of care is achieved.
The people in care need weekly road trips where they can have a change of scenery, and to see the new changes around Erbil city. Unfortunately, the elderly care home is unable to fund trips for those in care. There are several legitimate reasons for this, namely some of those in care have mental problems, as well as physical disabilities that prevents them from taking part in trips, but there are some who are both physically and mentally capable of going on trips but are not given the opportunity. Throughout much of Europe, care homes provide road trips, which improves the mental state of those in care considerably.
Elderly homes are neglected by society, and there are several ways to change this. For instance, schools can arrange trips which can be educational and fun for students to visit those in care homes. The people in care are in need of emotional support and attachment, and trips to the care home can provide some form of attachment if they are on a regular and consistent basis. This is where volunteers play an integral role in helping those in care homes retain a positive mental state. The care home institution in Erbil has welcomed volunteers to help with initiating new activities, and recommendations to improve the institution.
Erbil’s care home is not in a position to compete with the standards of care provided in Europe, but at the same time we should not see European standards are infallible because there are institutional problems with the care provided within elderly homes throughout Europe. As a result we must look to our own culture, and convictions to improve the standard of care given. This is possible through volunteering, and initiating new ideas to improve the living standard of those in care.