An extraordinary second Monday in December may have heralded long-awaited government action to tackle the care crisis. With more than a million older people not getting the help they need and cash-strapped local authorities squeezing fees to fragile care businesses, the care system seems close to collapse. Now all eyes are on the government's funding settlement for councils later this week. Will it simply allow councils to raise council tax to fund care or will it offer something more fundamental?
In many care homes, activities are an integral part of a resident's care plan and dedicated activity coordinators are becoming increasingly important. However, we would like to see more care homes in the UK prioritising activities and improving their current programmes so that even more homes can be rated top in this category.
Often, at times of crisis, a decision is made to put an old person into a care home. But at a time when the NHS faces mismatch between resources and demand, we must look further afield for a solution to cure Britain's current care crisis - perhaps technology is what will allow us to do more with less.
Loneliness has a severe impact on an older person's quality of life and leads to illnesses such as depression and a deterioration of cognitive ability. It is said that loneliness and isolation have a greater effect on mortality than other risk factors such as obesity, and are just as bad for your health as smoking.
The work that our care workers do, even in these impossible circumstances, is incredible. But it's impossible to read these stories and not wish for a proper solution to our care crisis. That will require money and political will to achieve. I hope that these are not in too short a supply to help a generation of people to whom we owe so much.
The latest report from Government has revealed new steps to encourage hospitals and local authorities to work together with out-of-hospital services to alleviate the issue of people being kept in hospital longer than necessary. A very positive step forward in my eyes and the only way to ensure people, especially older people, are recovering in a suitable environment.
One of the main themes that I have heard time and time again is the importance of each resident experiencing the Christmas that they want, whether it's a morning tipple in bed or an afternoon of old Christmas films. I have worked in the sector for a number of years and am still struck by the variety of days that make up a care home Christmas.
The veteran population of the UK is declining rapidly. In 2005, there were 4.8million veterans in the UK. Today, there are 2.83million, and in 2020 there will be 2.48million. In the face of such significant demographic change, the Armed Forces charity sector will have to evolve in some fundamental ways.
The debate over the state of the social care sector was reignited last week, after figures were released showing that over 150 allegations of abuse against the elderly are made every day in the UK. A Freedom of Information request to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed 30,000 allegations of abuse in social care services in the first six months of this year.