Herts Ad Comment: Palmed off with weasel words

Herts Advertiser comment

Herts Advertiser comment - Credit: Archant

Attack is the best form of defence so it is said - but there is a fine line between taking that tack and just trotting out weasel words.

This week the Herts Advertiser had two fine examples of that very point - and had they not been issues which had caused concern to people, they might almost have been funny.

But it isn’t amusing to palm off people with nonsensical reasons why something is done - at the very least responses to journalists’ questions should be couched in such a way as to make sense to our readers.

First off it was the county council defending claims from a care worker that by cutting her hours, residents of an independent living facility would be left ‘just looking at the walls’ as a result.

She rightly pointed out the dangers of the elderly people vegetating without stimulus so what did the county council come up with in response - some gobbledegook about making ‘more person centred care plans which focus more on helping people to achieve their personal goals and aims than on time spent and activities delivered’.

What on earth does that mean? The only ‘personal goals and aims’ of many elderly people is not spending their days sitting in front of the TV on their own, desperate for company and stimulation.

The statement goes on to say that the particular scheme at Lea Springs in Harpenden aims to help people keep their home or tenancy whilst also helping them avoid or delay going into residential care.

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But with loneliness highlighted again and again as the fate of far too many elderly people - whether they live in care homes, independent living facilities or their own homes - surely their needs are best met by more activities they can take part in not less and more opportunities to meet other people not less, If anything is guaranteed to accelerate the need for greater care it is being lonely and afraid as far too many older people are.

It is not just the county council which knows how to take a proactive stance without giving any real justification whatsoever. A bus user has noticed that Uno has have scrapped a £3 return fare from Marshalswick to St Albans and replaced it with only single tickets, selling at £1.80. So that means a 20 per cent increase for those who used to buy return tickets. He pointed out that passengers had not seen any advance warning and had not been offered any alternative.

But don’t worry everyone - Uno says it is now offering tickets which will reduce costs for the majority of its customers including a monthly St Albans Rover ticket. And of course it communicated its fares revision - on the website and Twitter feeds with notices on buses.

Do they not realise many of their customers are elderly and would not think of looking at Twitter or surfing the web?

Perhaps the two organisations should put their heads together - those living in care or independent living facilities could be encouraged to adopt social media as an alternative to human contact as their ‘personal goal or aim’. That would let them off the hook very neatly.