Do people expect too much from the council?

  Totally-braindead 00:40 30 Jul 2007

I was just thinking about a program I saw last week and a problem with council services, can't remember where in England the report was about but one thing in it has got me thinking.

There was an elderly Indian woman talking to the camera and as well as going on about too many immigrants being allowed in, which is what the program was about and the stretch on council services, she was complaining about how she used to get her shopping done for her and now, due to cuts this service was no longer provided.

Now this is what I was thinking about. I don't know if this elderly woman had no relatives or had relatives that were living a great distance away but, assumming she has relatives and they don't live in another town/city why should the council provide a service like this for the elderly in the first place. Now perhaps I'm being old fashioned but it seems to me that these days we expect the council or the social work or the government to do X, Y and Z. Now this sort of thing was always done before by the family. So I'm asking the question Are we expecting too much?

As an example I go down to my parents every day and sort out their medicines, I take out the bins and sort out the garden and quite often do the messages when they don't feel up to it ( as I will be doing tommorrow). I don't mind, they after all took care of me while I grew up so its just giving a bit back, so why do people expect so many things to be done for them, its different if they are alone and have no one left to care for them, in that case of course society should lend a hand but I think people are expecting too much. And part of the reason for this is families ignoring the elderly members of their own family and expecting the state to care for them so they can just ignore it.

Am I just being old fashioned? Is it the state/local government/social works responsability to care for the elderly so we can ignore them?

  robgf 01:46 30 Jul 2007

I agree, people do expect too much from the council.
Our street has a wide grass verge and when I cut the grass, I trim the verge outside my house and both my neighbours (both little old ladies).
It only takes five minutes to do, yet I have heard several able bodied people complain that the council should cut it more regularly.

Similarly with a couple of work colleagues, they complain bitterly that the council wont come out and do very minor repairs to their council houses.
When for the sake of a few pounds and five minutes, they could fix the fault themselves.
If you suggest this, they looked shocked and say "it's the councils job". They would rather suffer the problem, than get up off their arse and solve it themselves.

  Belatucadrus 02:03 30 Jul 2007

I also agree, but I put a lot of the blame on the control freakery of the nanny state. Having assumed control and centralised everything they can get their mitts on, standard public service advice from them always seems to be "Inform the authorities and wait, but under no circumstances do anything yourselves". Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised if some people take this as gospel.

  egapup 08:35 30 Jul 2007

I work with the elderly and there are plenty of lonely old folk out there with no family or family that dont give a damn. Who's going to look after them if not social sevices.

  Bingalau 09:14 30 Jul 2007

I suppose I can be classed as elderly, I can definitely be classed as one of the elderly who won't ask for help. I still think I am capable of looking after myself. I think my wife feels the same way. We are not too proud to ask for help we just don't think we are old enough. We know at some stage we will probably have to accept help from others of course. But we still don't like the idea. I've got two grown up sons and a grown up daughter and I think we help them more than they help us. Somewhere in the future the balance will change and they will help us (I hope). But we are not looking forward to that day arriving. We would not ask for help from outside the family though.

  Totally-braindead 14:22 30 Jul 2007

egapup if you read my original post I did say that if the person had no one to care for them then of course the state should assume the duty.

My point is, there are many elderly people out there who have relatives who live near them who don't lift their hand from one day to the next to aid them in any way. In this day and age people seem to expect the state/council/social work or whatever to do whatever is necessary so they don't have to and I think its wrong, completely wrong.

If you live far away from your relatives then of course you can't care for them or if the person has no one then the same is true.

It just seems very sad and more than a little wrong that older people with relatives who live near them cannot even expect them to provide a little care.

I'm at my parents every day, sometimes for only 10 minutes sorting out medication and though I admit I don't have a busy life even if I did I would surely be able to pop in once a day to make sure they are ok.

For those that don't bother I'm sure they will feel differently when the boot is on the other foot. When they get old how will they feel when their sons and daughters ignore them.

We all complain about taxes, and rightly so, but because of the attitude of many people money which could be better spent on other things are spent on caring for the elderly. I'm not talking about anything major here, things like taking the bins out and in, tidying the garden once a month or so, popping in to check alls well, getting the messages once a week. Picking up their prescriptions etc.

It seems to be the society we live in now that when people get older some completely ignore them and expect the state to provide all the care and expect not to pay for it.

  Cymro. 15:49 30 Jul 2007

My wife calls in twice every day to check on her 87 year old mother. When I was a kid many homes had an elderly relative living with them. But the world is changing and not always for the best.

Both our children live many hours away so will never be able to care for us in the same way. Not that I mind, we encouraged and helped them to go through university and now that they have the qualifications they have to go away to find the right jobs.

That is the way of things. In some way the world is not getting any smaller with more and more family's living further and further apart we have to depend more and more on such things as social services etc.

  Totally-braindead 20:35 30 Jul 2007

Agreed Cymro and understandable in the situation you are in, your wife takes care of her elderly mother who lives close to you and your kids live a fair distance away so you cannot expect them to be there for you when you get older. Its the way of the world, its a much smaller place than it used to be with people moving not just to other towns but to other countries. If you live a great distance away from your kids then as you get older you cannot expect them to be there for you in the same way as times past.
But sadly there seems to be a huge amount of people who live near their elderly relatives and basically don't give a monkeys and expect the state to provide all their needs whatever they might be so they don't have to bother and I think that that is criminal.

  Chegs ®™ 04:17 31 Jul 2007

I used to call round my fathers daily,taking him into town for his shopping when he needed,keep the house maintained & clean,etc until his arthritis became so bad he'd fallen and landed up in residential care home after his release from hospital.My brother hadn't seen my dad in years,my sister even longer.I still called up to see him in his care home until his demise,but in there there wasn't much I could do for him.My mother now lives in spain,so I get to go out there once or twice a year and maintain her house,do any of the things she is unable to and is to proud to ask her friends to do.Everyone says "wow,great.Your Mum lives in spain,thats handy for you getting a free holiday in spain" but it definately aint a holiday although it is enjoyable.

  egapup 08:30 31 Jul 2007

It always disgusts me that a elderly person, living in the home where I work, can go years with absolutely no visitors then, when they die, the relatives come out of the woodwork to grab everything thats left.

  MichelleC 09:25 31 Jul 2007

That's a part of human nature, I'm afraid. Our residents at the mental health residential home had one visit per year if they were lucky. Most never had a visit.

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