She needs a really good talking to.

Yes, we know the pressure that councils are under to meet the growing needs for social care in a rapidly aging population.  Dealing with the economic realities has meant that social services have had to plan their care provision along almost military lines, in order to cover the very basics and meet their obligations. While this can provide the means to keep people alive, it can leave a huge hole in the lives of the people they are serving.

Because it’s not just underfunding that’s the problem; a great deal of it is underperforming too.

Many elderly retirees live alone, often with no daily contact with the outside world beyond the delivery of food or medical support, which will usually take the form of a hurried visit and a bunch of boxes to tick.  To meet these pressing schedules the service staff have to be fit and active, tending to be anything up to sixty years younger, often from a completely different cultural background

What gets missed is human contact, conversation, a relationship that builds and sustains, something to look forward to.

That’s where you could come in. Caring comes in many forms, but in many ways the most valuable of all is that which keeps the spirits up. A home visit, a cup of tea and a chat can make a world of difference; and it will always be easier and more satisfying if the conversation takes place between people of similar backgrounds and those whose ages are less than a whole generation apart.

You could approach this in a number of ways: you could visit your home town council social care office; charities like Age UK or Age Concern will always be happy to put you in touch with someone local; most care homes will also welcome people visitors who can come in and read to residents, or even just sit and be company.