I was a foster child from the age of 13 to 16, it left me with a really negative impression of the social work departments, it wasn’t that they failed me, actually they didn’t. I was given exactly the care I needed at the time I needed it, including them knowing I needed to be on my own before I was even 16, I was responsible for myself living in the YWCA. So their assessment and provision of services tailored to my needs, well I have to give them 10 out of 10, but I have still this total negative feeling towards them. Try as I might I have this picture in my mind of an organisation that walks into your life, takes over and doesn’t walk away, one of the big pluses to marrying my first husband was that I would be leaving Aberdeen and their watchful interfering eyes would be removed from me. I haven’t built this picture up from just my experience of them, but from that of many others I have met over the years, including more than one that blamed them for the break up of their family and the destruction of their live, one also had to vanish to get rid of them. So finding myself with a suggestion put forward by Adams Mother, that would require me to contact them and have them assess me needs, well I can’t help but feel totally reluctant to go anywhere near them.
A couple of days ago I wrote about how distressed Adam gets when he knows that I have taken a tumble and how for the next few days, he panics constantly, getting himself clearly distressed about leaving me alone in the house. His Mother read it and has made a suggestion that I agree with her would help to put Adams mind at ease, but I am reluctant, not to help him, but to go down the required route. His Grandmother lived on her own for many years and like many older people had become unsteady on her feet. If she had taken a fall she could have been unattended for many hours, until someone called her or went round to her home. The decision that for everyone’s peace of mind that contacting the Social Work Department, might just be a good idea, as they could provide an alert alarm in her home free of charge. If she needed help for any reason, be it a fall or something else, she just had to press the button that she carried in her pocket and they would first call the house to ensure it was a genuine alert and not just a false alarm, then next they would call one of the family. A simple system, with one huge hole in it, when she did fall she didn’t have the button on her, it was on a table she couldn’t reach. That is the second reason I am not sure if it is such a good idea, I almost guarantee that just like Gran, I wouldn’t carry it around with me.
In many ways I can see it as a possible solution, but to me the biggest hurdle is the Social Workers, I really don’t want people looking into my life and trying to decide for me what is best for me. Just the very idea of them being here puts shivers up my spine, just as it did when I landed up with the district nurses here with all their great ideas, in their minds, that were so obtrusive to my life that I was glad to see them go. The problem they were here for is still ongoing, but I will do what I can to cope before reminding anyone else that I am still here. My experience in the last year when I brought the NHS back into my life to fix two things, has left me with neither fixed and so many days of exhaustion that I have already decided to drop back off their radar. Jumping into the radar sweep of another government body, well I am sure you can by now see my thinking.
One of the difficult things about being disabled is there are so many do gooders out there, who don’t actually do good for everyone. I have no doubt that some of them really are saviors to many people, but what I have never understood is why you can’t ask them for one thing, and one thing only! People want to help, they want to make things better for others, but who’s standards are they working to, theirs or the person they are working with. Being armed with millions of bits of information, tons of different solutions and thousand of contacts across the caring professions, doesn’t mean that I as an individual wants any of them at all. All to often you can spot them as they enter your home armed with a clip board with a questionnaire that they have to fill out before they can talk to you at all. You aren’t permitted to ask a question of them, or to tell them what it is you need, not until you have answered all the questions that 99% of have nothing to do with anything. It is like inviting a robot into your life rather than a living breathing person, everything has to be done by the book or they won’t help you at all. The worst bit about all of them is once you have eventually covered the help you need, they jump in with all this rubbish you don’t want, and don’t need. They try to convince you that you need people with personal care, or that it is their mission to force you out of your home, or at the least that they can redesign the one you have. If they were the things you wanted they are the things you would have asked for.
So there is my dilemma, to give Adam some peace of mind it is worth all of the above? And even if I do do all of that, will it really work? I know that I won’t carry that button with me all the time, and sods law says that just like when Gran fell and really needed help, well I bet if I ever need it, it will also be out of my reach. What would really be the best solution?