Been on Ynys Mon today. For the last three years, I've chaired the National Advisory Board for Wales of the European Care Group, an expanding, international care provider. It was a regular Board Meeting. Time flies past so quickly. Today, I handed over my responsibilities to my deputy, Eurig Wyn - at least for the next three months. I'm going to be otherwise occupied. Drove home feeling quite dejected about it - but I have to give the General Election a real crack. Too many people have climbed aboard the team bus whom I cannot let down. During my stint with European Care, I've developed a deep and lasting interest in how we care for the elderly, particularly those who suffer from dementia. I've posted before that were I to be elected an MP on May 6th, this issue would become a dominating interest.
Discussion at today's meeting drifted into how care for the elderly is going to be paid for in the future. We are facing a terrifying prospect. We invest so much national resource into extending life, and so little into ensuring that this extension is a worthwhile existence. The fees that local authority commissioners provide barely cover the cost of good provision. Even then, it depends on an occupancy rate of over 90%, and cross subsidy from self-funding residents. And people are living longer, resulting in ever more dementia sufferers. Must admit to pessimism about this issue. Cannot see how the demand for extra resource is going to be met. An increasing number of the elderly are going to be just left to cope (or not) on their own.
Back up to Bangor tomorrow morning for a RESEC (Research into Specialist Elderly Care)Conference. I'm chairing the second half. Ieuan Wyn Jones is coming along to open the event, and there's a good field of speakers. Ieuan's been good to us in that he opened our last conference as well. Depressingly, tomorrow will be my last involvement with RESEC for at least three months as well. Ah well. The wheel of life rolls on.