It may seem an odd thing to Blog about the death of one’s Mother but I have learnt so much in the last two years it seems nonsensical to keep the journey to myself. We all miss Mum a great deal. As a teacher, she knew the power of knowledge and the empowerment it brought.
Today, in London there are more than 250,000 people in the last five years of their life. In the UK, there are now 11.4 million people aged 65. There are over 23.2 million people aged 50 years and over, over a third of the total UK population. The number of people aged 65+ is projected to rise by over 40 per cent in the next 17 years to over 16 million. And most worrying of all, like my Mother, 3.5 million 65+ live alone.
Unless we do something, we are condemning generations of older people to a chaotic and unhappy last few of life. We can all do better! This is not about service redesign, apps or productivity this is about happiness. So over the next few weeks, I intend to focus on some of the lessons I learnt.
My Mother died just after Christmas 2015; she was 90. She had survived three bouts of cancer, two knee replacements, World War 2 and a career as a teacher. She was a pillar in her village community, helping the young ones, all in their 70s, access services. In the last few years of her life, she found it harder and harder to make sense of the services she needed. This was not because she was confused, it was mainly the lack of coordination between the service providers. These providers were public sector, commercial, charity and church organisations. We had to coordinate and manage all of these services, visits and appointments.
So these are the lessons:
- The five things you should know now
- Engaging with friends and family
- Finding Support
- Coordination of Services
- Role of local NHS and Social Services
- Hospitalisation and Blue Lights
- Mini Mental Health Assessment
- The chaos at the heart of the NHS
- Access and Control