Moleskins, Aged care and Alzheimer.

September 25, 2018

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It had to happen. A small tear in my moleskin trousers rapidly spread into a big one. From below the knee up to my thighs. This pair of moleskins lasted for more than twenty years. Helvi remembers buying them from the RM Williams store in Bowral in 1995. It was the year before we moved to the farm. The Australian RM Williams moleskins are the quintessential for farmwear. They are snake proof, even shark-proof. I never heard a shark taking someone wearing those moleskins. They are warm in winter and once worn- in, very comfortable during summer. The moleskin, like their boots, are not cheap but they last. I am still wearing the boots. I did send them away to their factory in Adelaide to get the bottom part renewed.

I promptly bought another identical pair of moleskins yesterday. Helvi said; ‘they will see you out!’ It wasn’t an unreasonable assumption! I combined the buying of the moleskins with an appointment with the audiologist and a thorough hearing test. I have become deaf. The latest movie we saw ‘The ladies in Black’ was beyond my hearing and most of it had to be guessed with the missing bits filled in by Helvi. Within my indoor-bowling groups I am not following conversation anymore. I am not too bothered by that with most of conversation by talk of football and Roosters. When they laugh so do I. I thought Rooster was a male chicken and as I was feeding the chickens next door tried to join in and enter the talk. It turned out a Rooster is a football club. I told the audiologist I don’t mind spending big money if it eases the situation when with Helvi. It is a bummer for her to keep repeating herself.  She doesn’t deserve that. As you can see, ageing has its problems.

We watched the second episode of the ABC’s ‘Aged- Care’.  One reason for feeling a bit sombre today. Dear, oh dear!  More bashings of the elderly and frail, all caught on cameras. It turns out that installing cameras in aged care facilities is a legal minefield.  The main problem is lack of qualified staff and understaffing. Even so, where is the empathy and understanding by our health minister who seemed to want to make light of it. Is this why we also don’t really mind the keeping in detention of over a hundred children, now in its fifth year on Nauru? We have a PM who is religious, yet he was the architect of detention of children with his ‘stop the boats’ policy.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-25/secret-surveillance-cameras-in-grandmas-nursing-home-legal/10298834

And finally a news item on Alzheimer whereby it is suggested that the plaque on braincells is a result of Alzheimer but not necessarily the cause. They are looking for volunteers to take part in trials. I was glad to read that testosterone and oestrogen boosting  fish oil might well be preventing Alzheimer. I always thought that eating herrings, sardines and anchovies was the way forward. I might well take a tin of sardines to the cinema next time.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-25/alzheimers-disease-research-questions-plaque-as-cause-of-disease/10299514

I am so happy with my new moleskins!

 

 

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Ladies in black with Clivia.

September 23, 2018

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Clivia

As one can see, the sun graced this beautiful plant enough time to take the photo. Each year they seem to multiply. It goes right against the advice of the experts. ‘Clivia are strictly for the sub-tropical areas.’ ‘They don’t grow in the Southern-Highlands.’ ‘They hate frost and you won’t see them for sale here.’

This year the frost has been merciless and even grasses have died. Yet, Helvi’s careful nursing of the Clivia by hiding them underneath the bay trees and away from open areas has paid off. We can look forward to weeks of flowering Clivia as we now have at least a dozen or so spread around both front and back garden. Not only do they survive our climes but seem to multiply while we are not looking.

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Lobelia.

The Lobelia is a different story. They love it here and thrive on neglect. The primary colours are our most favourite. Amazing to think that all other colours come from combining red, yellow and blue. Black is not really a colour, merely the absence of colour. That’s why even a bright yellow tulip looks black inside a box. White is the combination of all colour.

The photo of the lobelia is another example of how Helvi gets it so right. It’s never a forced effort. Her gardening is always natural and doesn’t ever have this ‘planted look’ The Lobelia looks as if it came there on its own volution. Look at the lovely contrast between that and the succulent below it.

Another delight this week-end has been a movie; ‘The Ladies in Black’. Another must see film by Bruce Beresford. You must know he never makes a bad movie. This is again a masterpiece. Last week we saw ‘The Wife’ which  we were knocked over by.

The ‘Ladies in Black’ is loosely based on a book by Madeleine St John named ‘The Women in Black.’  A very witty and heartfelt story of Australia in the late fifties and the influence of European migrants, especially Eastern Europeans.

Please, go and see it. But please-, refrain taking food inside the cinema. It is not that difficult to go without eating for a couple of hours. At the end of Ladies in Black we had trouble exiting our row of seats. A large lady blocked the exit and did not leave her seat. We waited for her to go but she did not or could not move. We finally climbed past over her. Perhaps she was waiting for a carer to lift her out. We don’t know what happened.

https://www.traileraddict.com/ladies-in-black/trailer

 

Going Dutch.

September 19, 2018

https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/2014/07/30/dutch-model-offers-alternative-approach-home-care/

 

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“It is the fastest growing organisation in the Netherlands and for three years running has been named the country’s top employer. Not-for-profit organisation Buurtzorg Nederland, founded and developed by community nurses, is transforming home care in the Netherlands and is quickly garnering attention worldwide, including in Australia.

Since its development in 2006, the Buurtzorg or “neighbourhood care” model has attracted the interest of more than 25 countries including the National Health Service in England. Sweden, Japan and the US state of Minnesota have already begun introducing Buurtzorg nurse-led teams in their jurisdictions.

Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda ahead of his keynote address to the Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) National Congress in October, founder and director Jos de Blok said his home care model has been shown to deliver higher quality care at a reduced cost. A 2010 Ernst and Young report said costs per patient were approximately 40 per cent less than comparable home care organisations and surveys have shown that patient satisfaction is the highest in the country.

At the heart of the nurse-led model is client empowerment by making the most of the clients’ existing capabilities, resources and environment and emphasising self management.

“The model is much more focused on self-support and working with high qualified nurses that have skills in coaching and supporting patients to do the things that they are able to do themselves,” Mr de Blok told AAA.

While the costs per hour are higher from employing registered nurses, savings are made through lower overhead costs and a reduction in the overall number of care hours required per client.

Notably, the Dutch approach represents a challenge to the wisdom of low-skill, low cost staffing models which have tended to dominate health and aged care systems in Australia and overseas by demonstrating how a high-skill professional model can deliver greater efficiency.

The model also demonstrates the benefits of handing control over to the nurses that run the service.

Under the model, Buurtzorg nurses form self-organising or autonomous teams that provide a complete range of home care services supported by technology and with minimal administrative oversight. “The nurses organise all the work themselves, so there is no management structure and no hierarchy,” said Mr de Blok. The small teams of up to 12 nurses work in close collaboration with patients, doctors, allied health professionals and informal community networks to support the patient.

The emphasis on continuity of care and patient-centred care strengthens the quality of client-staff relationships and has been shown to improve both patient satisfaction and nursing staff morale.

“We have received a lot of attention from all sides – from politicians, from insurance companies but mostly from nurses themselves. In every region in the country groups of nurses came to ask us if they could start a team themselves in the neighbourhood they worked in, so they resigned at the other organisation and they have come to work for Buurtzorg,” he said.

Since its development Buurtzorg has experienced rapid growth and currently employs more than 8,000 nurses in the Netherlands, working in 700 neighbourhoods caring for palliative care clients, people with dementia and older people with chronic disease.

Mr de Blok said the model is based on World Health Organisation principles on integrated community-based care and is universal in its application. “In the last three to four years we have had interest from people in 25 countries. We have already started an organisation in Asia for Japan, China and Korea and in the US we have a team in Minnesota and a few years ago we started in Sweden.”

Mr de Blok will deliver a keynote address on the Buurtzorg model at the LASA National Congress, which runs 20-22 October at Adelaide Convention Cen”

Aged Care.

September 16, 2018
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An old man in Sydney

Hold onto your seatbelts folks, it’s going to be a rough ride. This Monday a TV programme on ABC 4 Corners will feature the state of Australia’s Aged Care. It will be broadcast in two sessions. Something to look forward to during the following Monday evening as well. The Government getting wind of this program, decided to now have a Royal Commission into aged care. Royal Commissions are made to quieten down things.  It shows the Government ‘doing’ something. We sometime get a bit restless and there is nothing like a Royal Commission for the Government to subdue us into passive acceptance of whatever might be happening.

Aged care has always been the weedy neglected garden of few countries, including Australia. If you survived the years of receiving the miserable pension, you have been well warmed up for the end of it all in a retirement village. Many of you would have seen the footage of several videos on TV whereby elderly aged-care recipients were bashed up or assaulted.  The videos were a result of family members’ concern that often their elderly parents showed repeated bruising or festering wounds. A daughter or son would install a secret camera hoping to catch the assault and have it as proof. In many cases it showed assaults taking place. Police took action and a paddy wagon was shown whereby the nurse was led into. That’s just one case where he was caught.

How often does this happen? I can’t say I look forward to that kind of journey.  If it happens I will not keep any slippers near my bed or other implements that might get used as weapons to attack me. Certainly not hard cover books, magazines, hard fruit, coconuts. Just imagine getting hit over the head by a copy ‘Of Human Bondage.’

It is more a reason to stay well away from nursing homes no matter how well they advertise themselves. I don’t believe footage of an elderly retiree around the communal aged care home ‘The Setting Sun’,  sipping a chardonnay while swirling around with a svelte 89 year old. The elderly gent is more likely to get bashed up by his own slippers as shown in one video where an enraged nurse hoed into the defenceless old man.

It’s not getting any easier. Is it?

Hotdog

September 6, 2018
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Every few months I take some time off and get the car washed. I know I should do that myself but I have hardly ever washed a car. The tediousness of it I never overcame. It might also explain why I was never drawn to join the army, the police force, became a Jesuit or follow any kind of group where discipline is required.

The car-wash place is about three kilometres from here. They charge $ 45.-. They do a thorough job. A whole team of young people beaver about with specialised equipment. High pressure steam spray blasts the dirt off the exterior after which the interior gets a vacuuming with the upholstery cleaning and burnishing waxing of the leather seats. The carpet especially is beyond my capability. They have a specially strong machine that just about sucks up the car itself. Anyone who has a Jack Russell would know that their hairs will be almost impossible to remove. They stick to the carpet like a Velcro stocking to a varicosed leg.

Some of the car washers wear headgear of Sikhs, others wear Turbans both indicating a belonging to a disciplinary faith based organisation. This installs me with complete trust and confidence. I never heard of car jackings by people that wear religious clothing. I mean, would a man (or woman) steal a car wearing a cardinal’s mitre with humble desert sandals?

The cleaning always takes about an hour. And as this car-cleaning business is situated in a large shopping complex with a food-court, I do what I rarely do; have a coffee with a hotdog. It does not matter what time it is, the food-court is really rocking. I read yesterday that peoples lives are becoming more and more aimless. Eating is the one activity that is still possible to experience as a pleasure. The food courts are proof of it. Eating is now seen as an aim in itself. Of course, I become part of that as well. I sit there the same as the others. The hotdog itself contradicts everything that I know about healthy eating. Part of it is that I am doing this by myself. With Helvi, I would be eating a far healthier Japanese sushi take-away. But what the heck, (I sooth myself). The car washing combo with hotdog is enjoyed a couple of times year.

So what?

Potpourri.

September 4, 2018
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The last few weeks has been an amazing  period. In politics it is not just the imaginable that happens but the impact of the unimaginable which has infiltrated our Australian psyche.  Who would have thought that Peter Dutton would think himself worthy of the Prime Ministership? A man without compassion towards asylum seekers, but overflowing with it when it comes to granting visas to foreign (white) au pair girls.

It was fortunate that it did not happen. Our previous PM, Mr Turnbull, now in NY City. No doubt glad to be away from the mess. He must have wondered what happened. The Government will not ‘sit’ till the 10th of September. I expect the fireworks to start all over again and predict there could well be another spill.

Liberal (Republican) female politicians are lining up with claims of bullying that made one of them even resign. A male punch drunk Politician urged females to ‘roll with the punches’. Last night an unscrupulous expert in insults and well-known shock jock media personality, urged women politicians to take a spoonful of cement and learn to ‘toughen up.’

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-03/lucy-gichuhi-threatens-to-name-liberals-who-bullied-her/10196432

The real truth of all that turmoil and personal fighting came finally through. Coyly at first but none the less, finally an honest revelation. First it was one politician and the next day another one. Both answered when asked about the turmoil and chaos, the claims of bullying etc. In essence, this is what they said.

“Our political system depends on fighting and personal battles. It is the Westminster system. The adversarial way of governing. Fighting each other is the very essence of parliamentary behaviour.” “We hold each other to account.”

Mix that with parliamentary privilege, unable to sue for libel or defamation, and you have the perfect mode for endless personal fighting and bullying. Seeking consensus and working together is an anomaly in the British system.

Last but not least, the urging of the extreme right to restrict immigration and only allow those that will hold-up our traditional Australian values. Did anyone see the irony that when the new Ministry was signed in by the Governor general, each and every one of the new ministers gave their signed allegiance not to Australia but to the Queen of England?

Crotches.

August 29, 2018

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It’s funny how women went from huge sail like billowing underpants to almost nothing or at most a piece of string between their buttocks. We have a shop that sells nothing but bras and skimpy female underpants here in Bowral. There are two shop dummies wearing lace panties and bras facing the pavements. All men, even old ones, who pass the shop inevitably look down at the crotches of those dummy mannequins (diminutive of man) as if expecting to see heaven knows what.

Even dummies make male heads turn around. Is that all there is to you, men?
What’s wrong with them?

Chickens.

August 25, 2018

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Rain with joy.

The Canberra’s writer’s festival would not have been happy with the latest political turmoil. Right bang in the middle of Canberra too. A most astonishing election for a new Prime Minister. Life is never dull. We were drawn to the Telly like horse-flies. Crackers and Boursin cheese at the ready.

Our neighbour also happen to be the Artistic Director of the Canberra Writers Festival. https://www.canberrawritersfestival.com.au/what-canberra-writers-festival

They kindly asked us to feed their three chickens and cat named ‘Brambles’ while they were in Canberra. The chickens have names but I can only remember just one, a white chicken ‘Blanche’. So each morning and afternoon I go and feed their animals. In return we get the eggs. I am astonished how prolific egg layers the chickens are. Blanche is the only white one. The other two are brown. There is something so beautiful about feeding chickens. A primeval call to what we perhaps ought to enjoy as part of normal living. Tending animals is of course an activity that most people were engaged in during past centuries.

Even in my birth city of Rotterdam and later on The Hague, it was fairly common to hear chickens cackling. Even highly urbanized cities in Europe still clung to people having chickens. Egg were shared.

In our everyday life we never chuck out food. We always eat leftovers. The Dutch hunger winter of 1945 taught us never waste food. However, the last few days we have given our scraps to the chooks. I don’t know, but Blanche must have laid two eggs in one day! I assume the brown eggs are laid by the two brown chickens and the white Blanche laying white eggs. Yesterday there were two white eggs! I felt like clapping.

The rain has come as well. It pelted down and gutters overflowed. One could hear the garden drinking. A standing ovation from jonquils, daffodils and burgeoning Japanese windflowers. Sighs of relief from the clivias. Everyone is hoping the farmers will get a bucketing and green returning to bleached baked paddocks and water flowing into barren dams.

As for our New Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. He is the architect of Nauru and Manus island torture centres. Let’ not go there.

Let’ not spoil the delights of the chickens.

 

Blue flower.

August 19, 2018

 

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This pretty blue flower is from a bulb. We bought a packet of mixed bulbs a few years ago and planted them in a dish. Without fail, they reward us each spring. They pop up mid-winter. Nothing happens much except for grass-like greenery to spill over the edges. Come mid August and the first flower arrives and delights us no end. It came by stealth during the night in full moon’s light. It wasn’t there the day before!

Perhaps it is a snow-flower or star flower. My father used to delight in a small plant that he grew indoors when still living in The Hague, Holland. I can still see him peering at it. It was called, ‘Star of Bethlehem’. The apartment we lived in was on the third floor and had no garden. Dad made an indoor garden and the lounge room had many plants growing on all the window sills. It delighted dad no end. His greatest triumph was the Clivia flowering. We all had to admire the Clivia when it flowered. Mum made sure we did!

The delights of growing things doesn’t really need to be on a grand scale. The single blue flower above gives its beauty so generously. From now on we will look at this modest flower each day. I am sure more little blue flowers will arrive soon as well.

The sun is getting stronger but rain is needed.

 

Cheerful.

August 15, 2018
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Helvi said, just out of the blue. ‘You are not so cheerful lately, Gerard’. ‘Is something the matter?’ I am suspicious of too much cheerfulness. It can be exhausting to be with people who are so busy being cheerful. What are they hiding? Anyway, I took notice of what I was told. I promised to look into  it.

Part of the problem is the news. Women can be so nasty. I can’t believed how Emma Husar was treated.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-24/embattled-labor-mp-emma-husar-takes-personal-leave/10030986

Women can be nice and caring to other women as long as they are not prettier in looks or higher up the professional scale. They are more ruthless in their bitchiness than men. Men often support each other, even giving the other man a bit of a leg up. I know they can be bastards too. But for backstabbing and demolishing; in many cases women outdo men.

Of course, for a while the ‘Me Too’ movement had me convinced men were the worst of the five sexes. I could hardly look myself in the mirror. I am so careful  at the check-outs at Aldi’s. I keep at least three feet away from the trolley in front if a woman is in charge. I now look at onions instead of a cleavage. I don’t want to be hauled away by the police.

Female bitchiness start young. Even at school age they can’t wait to claw and tear into each other. Mother and daughter relationships are often more volatile than males. In the bullying on-line, it’s the girls that seem to outdo the boys. Females are supposed to be the nurturers. But why is that so often lacking between the women? Perhaps they are forever competing with each other. Wanting to be better dressers, better mothers, better shoppers, better looking. I don’t think men do that. If a woman notices  the same dress being worn by someone else, they feel mortified. Can you imagine a man noticing another one wearing the same jacket, tie or shoes? They could not care less.

On the other hand one can hardly enthuse about Trump or cheer our own version of Malcolm Turnbull. Hardly role models for compassion and effusive caring or sharing. It is so difficult. By now I ought to have firm views about those matters. With ageing there is no clearer insight. Perhaps cheerfulness is poisoned by news.

I did feel cheerful this morning at about 8.20 when the news came about that the senator who used the term ‘final solution’ to strengthen his idea of banning all Muslims from entering Australia was condemned by all parties. My cheerfulness lasted more than twelve minutes.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/15/mps-widely-condemn-fraser-annings-final-solution-speech

Can you believe it?