Category: 2015 notices
Last meeting of Hornsey Pensioners on July 15th
Before the guest speaker there were announcements
One was to announce our successful Lottery Grant application. Clive Evers had done much of the work on this but in his absence, Ann Anderson, explained that we had been awarded £9,485 with conditional restrictions on how it was to be spent. Part of this would fund publicity for the group and we also hoped to get help from a volunteer. See the announcement enclosed.
The money cannot pay for meeting venue hire, but in September we plan to use Hornsey Parish hall and start that meeting early at 12.30pm. A good lunch will be provided for a small charge.
We were also told that our honorary president, Hetty Bechler, a member since 1996, celebrates her hundredth birthday on August 6th. There was a card to sign. Hetty has told us that she does not want presents but people could send a donation to the charity ‘Shelter’ if they so wished.
The delegates to Blackpool Pensioners Parliament were Anita Harper and Brian Haddon. Brian, pictured, gave a brief digest and encouraged others to go next year.
He brought back four messages:
• Scotch the myth peddled to the young that older people are sponging off the state. Pensions are deferred wages and older people did their bit and still do.
• Read up on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is serious threat to democracy and speak up against it.
• Beware recent moves to get local government to take on health services as well as social care. Local authority budget allocation is dependent upon central government grants that are being squeezed.
• Direct Action locally can be effective in highlighting important issues. This can be action from our own homes, such as estate agent type boards along one street for a few days.
There were many comments, but further discussion was postponed until the next meeting. Were the debates at Blackpool relevant to our concerns? What issues must be raised with our MP, Catherine West, at the Lobby of Parliament on Nov. 4th? Do read the pamphlet on Pensioners Parliament.
‘Can older people expect kindness and care when unable to care for themselves?’
The speaker was Judy Downey of the Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA).
Judy described how the charity was set up by Dorothy White, who had worked for Nye Bevan. Dorothy had to look for a care home for her mother when in her nineties and she needed more constant care. http://www.relres.org/how-we-started.html
Because of her earlier experience Dorothy noticed flaws in the way the care home was managed. Individual problems such as allergies were not taken seriously, but Dorothy – rather than just look to her own mother’s plight judged that there were structural problems in the way homes were run. She set up the R&RA – and surprisingly got a massive government grant.
Residents are the prime concern of R&RA; besides the helpline, the charity campaigns and builds up resources and publications. Extensive work responding to consultations is important but rarely results in change.
Those calling the helpline are often in anguish – even when a good decision has been made there is the separation to cope with someone who understands helps. Judy gave examples of where R&RA could help – such as advising on how accommodation valuations work or by approaching a care home where sensitive issues are difficult for the relative to raise in person.
Nowadays only 6% or 7% of care homes are run by the local authority. It used to be 70% and in LA homes the staff were trained. Now there is no mandatory training. A 12 week induction giving a certificate is recommended, but the value of this depends upon the home in which it takes place. Managers themselves vary tremendously.
Judy herself is experienced. She was involved in creating the Ombudsman service and has worked at the Open University, LSE, Home Office and the Department of Health. Her main responsibilities for policy (and legislation) focussed on complaints, data protection and regulation, including the development of training materials, practice guidance and publications. All invaluable experience for the R&RA.
Much R&RA campaigning is get staff trained. Incentives to provide adequate training, a cost to the company, are poor; care workers don’t stay long – they move on – there is no career structure. To improve the level of training we need regulation on minimum standards.
Current government policy is committed to allocating responsibility (along with the likelihood of blame) to councils without providing adequate funding. Private companies are buying up whole sections of NHS services as we speak. The future is full of doom.
Accountability is currently weak. When Judy worked in the Department of Health, their inspection practice could include a night stay, observing the standards of breakfast – limp soggy toast and other things. The patient experience can only be judged in this way. Various governments have meddled. We did have a National Care Plan, but Alan Milburn abolished it. The Commission for Social Care inspection was abolished by Gordon Brown in his ‘Bonfire of Regulators’ before it could get to grips with the problem. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been dubbed the ‘Close Quarter Combat’. Not having proper rigorous inspections, the CQC has lost public confidence. There used to be enforcement, now we have ‘More Chiefs that Indians’.
For the residents, ‘many are together but alone’ not having close kin. To help care workers understand their crucial role R&RA have produced ‘Keys for Care’.
Managers are not near the patient; care workers need to know that they matter. In clear English, the keys explain what is important and how they can make life better for the patient. They are practical, authoritative and jargon-free.
This set of 12 keys cover: The Care Plan, Care at Night, Continence Care, Daily Life, Dementia, Eating & Drinking, Emergencies, End of Life Care, Family & Friends, Listening & Talking, Mouth & Teeth Care, Privacy & Choice.
The first key tells that there must be a Care Plan, (a legal requirement) and they should refer to it. This Care Plan is often ignored. Note that R&RA found that mouth care, so important for oral health and to avoid infections, is a task found unpleasant for carers – and neglected.
Last month Clive Evers attended a conference organised by the R&RA on June 11th. It was called ‘Building Better Care – new initiatives for Care Workers – Launch of the ‘Keys to Care’. Speakers were Polly Townbee, Andy Tilden, Richard Hawes, Jennifer West, Dan Burner and Ian Smith. Clive’s report is available. Also Judy spoke at the meeting HPAG organised on Dignity Action Day 2014 at Hornsey Library in support of the NPC Dignity Code.
Judy’s own recent experience of a severe knee injury brought home to her what it feels like being disabled, being vulnerable. She said it felt like losing part of oneself.
Discussion and questions continued, covering accountability & transparency, zero-hour contracts for care workers, which homes to avoid, whether care homes could be brought back in-house.
Judy was thanked and we hope to be able to keep in contact with her work.
Rod Wells told us about a group of local 38 Degrees campaigners who will examine Social Care provision. He was asking us whether we could help find people badly affected by funding cuts for social care. Later we can report progress in our cooperation with this group.
An improvised raffle was conducted and further questions followed over refreshments of tea and cake
Can older people expect kindness and care when unable to care for themselves?
Speaker :Judy Downey of The Relatives & Residents Association
2pm Wednesday 15th July 2015
Arrive any time after 1.30pm
for a prompt start at 2pm
at the Marian Centre
Hornsey Parish Church Hall,
Cranley Gardens, N10 3AH
Entrance behind W7 bus stop on Park Road
Buses W3 144 W5 stop nearby
Next meetings: no meeting in August, Sept. 16th, Oct. 21st
Contacts: Ann Anderson 020 8340 8335, Pamela Jefferys 020 8444 0732 & Janet Shapiro 020 8883 9571 or 07804 936 139 [email protected]
Reports for June
Our best wishes to our Honorary President Hetty Bechler who reaches her 100th birthday in August this year.
Visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood on June 17th
We found the museum very interesting. Some felt the dolls houses were the best, but the collection of baby feeding bottles and the problems of cleaning them was informative, but sad. There seemed to be more play areas for the visitors than before and some of us did have a go at flicking the lights of an abstract glass sculpture and hearing the voices of the dolls house occupants.
It was interesting that because of the marriage property laws the enormous 18th or 19th century dolls houses may have been the only house some rich wives ever owned. Some of us had not visited for 35 years, while others had never been and were now going to bring their grandchildren. We expected to see examples of our own generation’s toys, but not our children’s!
The Alice exhibition was, however, rather disappointing. To preserve the exhibits, the lighting for the exhibits had to be low which made viewing a little difficult; we needed more time to look at exhibits on the middle floor.
National Pensioners Convention (NPC) Pensioners Parliament
June 16th – 18th at Blackpool
There were four of us at Blackpool this year – delegates Anita Harper and Brian Haddon, plus Janet Shapiro and Joan Smith. It was good to meet up with delegates from Tottenham Pensioners’ Action Group, Beverley and Vincent. It was the best NPC Parliament ever – with excellent speeches, seminars on many topics with a broad base of discussion. Older people from all areas of the UK made contributions; note that parliament is held so that NPC can keep abreast of what concerns pensioners. Those who attended have made reports and we intend to summarise these in a booklet for members to read.
Blackpool offers bracing fresh air, sunshine and a huge selection of hotels and guest houses. The Winter Gardens are worth a visit; renovated to do justice to its Victorian opulence. The Wednesday evening entertainment took place in the Ballroom, complete with chandeliers and affordable bar.
NPC can afford Parliament because of the generous subsidy made by Blackpool council; Rally opened with a welcome from the Mayor of Blackpool. The president Ron Douglas chaired and the speakers were Paul Nowak, TUC Assistant General Secretary, David Honeybone, an employee of CareUK & a striker, Dr Brenda Boardman, Environment Change Institute, Carla Cantoni representing Italian Trade Unionists, Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader and finally Dot Gibson NPC General Secretary.
The wide range of sessions on Wednesday were: The NHS & privatisation, Exploring the Pension landscape, Tackling digital exclusion, Social Care & the challenge of Dementia, Making transport accessible and Money Matters. Fringes were held by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the Women’s Working Party on Housing Choices and the Minority Working Party on Hospital Discharge.
The final closing session had a presentation by Christina Beatty from Sheffield Hallam, showing the multiple and overlapping effects on populations by austerity measures. Dave Ward General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) gave a rousing speech and encouraged joint campaigning. Dot Gibson called upon older people, having a sense of history, to help younger people understand what has been happening to undermine the welfare state built up after 1945 and now at risk.
Blackpool Parliament always ends with communal singing of ‘Keep Right On To The End Of The Road’. There is lots more to tell, and we come away with many ideas. Delegates will report briefly on July 15th, and there will be a written report.
Future plans affecting calls for doctor treatment out of hours.
On June 26th members of HPAG attended a meeting of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny (JOSC) Meeting at Islington Town Hall. We wanted a proposal to be dropped. This was the proposal by 5 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to jointly commission Out-of-hours GP services with the 111 service over 5 London boroughs. At present this service works well in Haringey using the GP collaborative Barndoc – so why change? The JOSC decided that the CCGs should return with more explanation and justification of their plans in Septembe
Audrey Evers & Janet Shapiro were not homeless; we were waiting for the march to start.
Help getting to meetings.
Many members may be eligible to be a member of Dial a Ride. This service is very helpful. Write to Dial a Ride, Passenger Services, PO Box 68799 London SE1P 4RD or phone 0343 222 7777 to request an application form.
If you are given a lift or use a taxi and need help walking from the car park we now have use of a wheelchair to help you from the car park on Cranley Gardens. Ring Mobile 07804 936 139.
Have you a spare room? John Boshier tells us a friend who is looking for a bed-sit and willing to help in the house if necessary. Ask for her contact details. Eileen Shortt also knows of a young woman with child seeking accommodation possibly as a lodger.
‘Muswell Hill Caring Connections Friendship Group’ on Monday afternoons 2 – 4pm Garden Room North Bank, 28 Pages Lane.
‘Hornsey Caring Connections Friendship Group’ on Thursday afternoons 2 – 4pm at Hornsey Vale Community Centre Mayfield Road N8. For both contact Kathy Wiltshire on 8885 8353 [email protected]
‘Senior Citizen Coffee Morning’ also every Thursday morning at 10.30 a.m. in Alexandra park Library
Jackson’s Lane Coffee & Computers, (also on a Friday morning) enquire for this and monthly lunch club Stuart Cox Participation Manager, 269a Archway Road, London, N6 5AA, Tel 020 8347 2411
The Cinema Club no longer operates. [email protected]
Exercise Class Fitness and Fun for Ladies over 60 every Tuesday 10.30 to 11.30 £4.00 at Tetherdown Church Hall, Tetherdown N10 1ND
A visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood
This visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood, at Bethnal Green, E2 9PA promises to be very enjoyable. The museum has historic doll’s houses, train sets etc. and the current special exhibition is ‘The Alice Look’.
A minibus will pick up from Hornsey Parish Church car park and another place to be agreed in Muswell Hill. The minibus allows full access for disabled.
Phone Barbara to book a place 8889 8357. Deposit £5, total cost £10.
The ‘Alice Look’ is on from May 2nd to November 1st 2015
Get a whole new view of Lewis Carroll’s heroine in this display marking the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Follow Alice’s evolution from follower-of-fashion to trend-setter through a selection of garments, photographs, rare editions and a brand new commission by Roksanda pattern-cutter Josie Smith. The display shows how Alice has been adopted and adapted across the world in all walks of life, and how she has inspired many of the most celebrated designers, stylists and photographers.
During this week others will be attending
the National Pensioners Convention Pensioners Parliament held annually at Blackpool.
This is open to all but HPAG is sending two delegates, Anita Harper and Brian Haddon. Members Joan Smith and Janet Shapiro are also attending.
Meeting May 20 ‘Should hearing loss be an embarrassment?’
Ingrid Sellman of Hearing Connect was emphatic that we should not be embarrassed by hearing loss. While deaf herself she had acquired the skills of lip-reading and she encouraged us not to be intimidated. Her message was that being deaf was a disability and accessibility to disabled people was enshrined in law. Retail staff are – in theory – well trained and will quickly respond by communicating clearly if we indicate our deafness.
As well as the visual presentation Ingrid had brought her own equipment to demonstrate how an induction loop worked. The induction loop speaker was placed on the front table connected to a wire taped securely in a circle on the floor enclosing seating for those wearing hearing aids fitted with a telecoil. They were advised to switch their aid to the T setting while Ingrid spoke using her microphone.
Ingrid explained that loops can be installed at home and could be useful with family TV viewing to allow normal volume setting. However Ingrid spoke so clearly those without aids heard and enjoyed her talk
Having worked as a teacher, she is now retired and works for Hearing Connect at Jewish Deaf Association, Julius Newman House, Woodside Park Road, N12 8RP 84446 0214 [email protected] It is wheelchair accessible and services are open to all. She recommended the lip-reading classes and the equipment advice.
We are also in touch with Nikki George, Technical Officer – Sensory Disabilities at Haringey Council, and Action on Hearing Loss (formerly [RNID]) http://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/ There is a Helpline: 0808 808 0123 for the most up-to-date information.
Ingrid indicated the prevalence of hearing loss, with 71.1% over 70s and 90% of over 80s having hearing loss. Are all these people fitted with hearing aids? Hearing loss can isolate; deaf people may not comprehend first time what has been said – context is important. The problem is distortion of sound rather than volume. A hearing loss that misses the high frequencies is usually an age-related loss and this makes it difficult to hear consonants, while low frequency vowels are usually OK. There are other types of hearing loss too.
It is important that we acknowledge deafness and require reasonable consideration from others
The ‘Equality Act’ became law in 2010; since then companies must make reasonable provision to help you. Look out for the Induction Loop sign at banks, post offices and other public reception places. Where the sign is displayed you can use the T setting on your aid. The loop should be switched on. If it isn’t, complain!
Other provisions are: hearing aids are free for ever, social services will provide equipment in the home free of charge, text telephones can be provided free of charge to the profoundly deaf (that transpose text to speech) and PALS (Patients Advice & Liaison Service) can provide assistance at appointments. Note that MOST arts theatres have facility for hearing loss, either a loop or a looped headset. Also people without hearing aids can request amplifying headphones.
There is also a huge range of technical equipment to help. There are also advice sessions to help cope with tinnitus.
Ingrid noted that one can have aids in the ear or behind the ear. The latter being most reliable. Open fitting aids are prescribed for mild hearing loss that supplement natural hearing. BUT hearing aids need perseverance; the user must get accustomed.
Others must also be trained. Advice sheets were available to show your relatives and friends. Guidelines are: Face the person with light on your face- do not cover your mouth, use a natural speech rhythm, don’t shout and don’t waffle.
Advice for the deaf person included avoiding background noise, noting down essential information. When using the telephone while wearing an aid, tilt the phone resting on side of the head to direct the sound at the microphone of the aid. An elbow resting on a table might help with the fatigue.
Seek out subtitles – TV monitors have this facility. Some film showings at cinemas are advertised for the deaf. Keep the telephone alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie etc.) by the telephone or learn it.
Ingrid was questioned about British Sign Language, how to train relatives and healthcare staff, where other centres were and how the deaf-blind cope.
Ingrid was thanked for her entertaining and informative talk. We gave her flowers but the group will make a contribution to Hearing Connect as a mark of our appreciation. Ingrid helped with the raffle and answered further questions when we broke for tea.
The Silver line Service. Ann Anderson attended a meeting at Age UK Haringey with Esther Rantzen promoting this service – a phone line open 24 hours a day and every day including Christmas Day. It offers information, friendship and advice for older people. Part of the service is called Silver Line Friends especially to help lonely people who cannot get out who may want to talk to a volunteer on a regular basis. The number is 0800 4 70 80 90 and it is free. www.thesilverline.org.uk
Just Drop in for a bowls taster session Fridays 6.30pm – 8.30pm at Muswell Hill Bowling Club, Blue Gates (next to no. 36) Kings Avenue, Muswell Hill N10 1 PB. Enquiries Simon 07714 720 913 (some posters available)
The Cinema Club for over 60’s at Cineworld Wood Green on Monday June 22nd ‘The Water Diviner’ from10.30 to 1.30 £3 admission. Enquiries Saskia Schreuder, HFOP answerphone 020 8885 8358
Age UK’s West Haringey Seniors Exercise group meets Tuesdays 2.15 to 3.15 at the Hornsey Vale Community Centre- 60 Mayfield Road N8 9LP near junction with Weston Park £3.50 with Jeff Hurrell expert in older people’s exercise.
The People’s Assembly is a non-party political organisation supported by a wide range of groups, set up to propagate policies opposing austerity. The current government intends to continue with austerity measures that badly affect older people so members of Hornsey Pensioners Action Group will be supporting the ‘End Austerity Now’ – National Demonstration Saturday 20th June 2015 at 12:00 PM
Let us know if you would like to join a group of members supporting this event. We can arrange a meeting point.Otherwise assemble 12pm, Bank of England (Queen Victoria St) City of London. Nearest tube: Bank. The march goes to Parliament Square.
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