Widow reveals husband with dementia was seen by an astonishing 106 different carers in his last year
A pensioner suffering from dementia was forced to have more than 100 different carers in the final year of his life. Retired chartered accountant Kenneth Maitland, who also had Parkinson’s disease, needed a home visit four times a day.
Officials struggled to provide sufficient cover and relied on scores of staff, many from outside agencies, meaning a constant flow of strangers helping with his bathing and personal care.
Mr Maitland, 72, died of a dementia-related illness on May 12.
His wife, Jeanette, kept a record of many of the names of the 106 carers who visited their home and last night claimed the council’s poor planning had worsened the couple’s ordeal.
Mrs Maitland, 69, said: ‘Where is respect for his dignity? I feel I should have sold tickets. ‘I just started taking note of the names so I could remember properly and put a face to the name. Then each time a new face came so I kept writing, writing, writing, until we’re here where we are today with 106 carers.’
Mr Maitland had been allocated two carers four times a day to help his wife look after him at home. She was given the impression that care would be provided by a core group of about ten staff.
Mrs Maitland said: ‘Anyone who knows anything at all about dementia will know that they live in fear 87 per cent of the time. The more regular the voice, the more regular the regime, the constancy of it all helps them to relax.’
Mr Maitland, of Kingswells, Aberdeen, did not have to pay for his care because of the Scottish Government’s free care for the elderly pledge.
Although Mrs Maitland has no complaints about the overall standard of care, she said her husband was an intensely private man who would have been horrified at the number of strangers involved with his intimate care.
She said: ‘It is absolutely not acceptable because of the kind of disruption that is caused to people with dementia if they are faced with too many people. Familiarity helps reduce the symptoms of dementia, and if you are supposed to be looking after someone with dementia then presenting them with a lot of different faces is just bad care.’
The Alzheimer Scotland charity said no one should have to go through the Maitlands’ experience. It said: ‘Unjustifiably frequent changes of support and care staff are simply not acceptable in any circumstance, particularly where dementia is concerned. We must learn some quick lessons from this terrible situation.’
The Age Scotland charity said the situation was ‘appalling’. Care was provided to Mr Maitland by a combination of in-house staff at Aberdeen council and outside agencies, which often have a high turnover of personnel.
Aberdeen council chief executive Valerie Watts said: ‘I recently had a very positive meeting with Mrs Maitland where we spoke at length about the care package her husband received. ‘I gave Mrs Maitland a personal assurance I would look into the concerns she raised and respond at the earliest opportunity.’
Britain’s insane border controls
Hundreds of clerical staff are being drafted in to solve the crisis at airport immigration desks and will be expected to spot fake passports and suspicious passengers after just three days’ training.
Low-level filing clerks and receptionists are among 700 usually desk-bound civil servants recruited for the temporary work.
They will be able to claim up to £250 a day in bonuses and expenses on top of their salaries as they cope with the massive influx of visitors expected for the Olympics.
The move comes just months after the Home Office laid off about 1,000 passport control workers as part of a programme of cutbacks.
The temporary staff will be responsible for spotting dubious passengers, passports and visas after only the most rudimentary classroom instruction.
In contrast, UK Border Agency staff receive up to 15 weeks of training before they man the front line.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that some staff from the Home Office’s human resources department in Whitehall – whose normal duties involve handling job applications and employee grievances – have already volunteered.
But the temporary staff will not be given powers to detain passengers and refuse them entry because they won’t have completed the full training.
Instead they will have to hand over suspects to qualified passport officers.
The scheme has been condemned by MPs and unions, who have accused the Home Office of compromising Britain’s national security as up to 600,000 extra passengers are expected for the London Games….
Home Secretary Theresa May was criticised when passengers faced three-hour queues at Heathrow last month because of a shortage of border staff.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: ‘The delays at our airports have been caused by a 22 per cent cut in staff, and the Home Office is simply trying to put a sticking plaster on what is a very serious injury.’
Why defeat an evil empire – and then embrace a stupid one?
By Peter Hitchens
The European Union is like a hospital where all the doctors are mad. It doesn’t matter what is wrong, the treatment is always the same – more integration – and it is always wrong. The best thing to do is never to enter it. Once you are in, the best thing to do is to leave. If you can’t get out, you will probably die.
Those of us who pay attention to history, politics and truth have known this for many years. But as the EU’s ‘experts’ and ‘technocrats’ insanely destroy the economies of Greece, Spain and Italy, it must now surely be obvious to everyone. The EU, far from being a bright future, offers nothing but bankruptcy and decline.
If the old USSR was an Evil Empire – and it was – the EU is the Stupid Empire. Obsessed with the idea that the nation state is obsolete, the EU has sought to bind its colonies tightly, while pretending they are still independent.
This is why what is essentially a modern German empire is not held together by armies, but by a sticky web of regulations and a currency that destroys prosperity wherever it is introduced (with one important exception, Germany itself, for whom the euro means cheap exports to Asia).
It is also why it has been built backwards, starting with the roof and ending with the foundations. Old-fashioned empires were at least honest.
They marched in, plundered everything they could cart away, killed or imprisoned resisters, suborned collaborators, and imposed their language on the conquered.
Other humiliating measures followed – forcing the newly-subject people to live according to the invader’s time, to pay special taxes to their new masters, to surrender control of their borders, to use the invader’s weights and measures, salute the invader’s flag and obey the invader’s laws.
Eventually, after a few years of imposed occupation money, set at a viciously rigged exchange rate, the subjugated nation’s economy would have been reduced to such a devastated and dependent state that it could be forced to accept the imperial currency.
The EU, which cannot admit to being what it really is, has to achieve the same means sideways or backwards. The colonial laws are disguised as local Acts of Parliament. The flag is slowly introduced, the borders stealthily erased, the weights and measures and the clocks gradually brought into conformity.
Resources (such as Britain’s fisheries) are bureaucratically plundered, giant taxes are quietly levied, but collected by our own Revenue & Customs as our ‘contribution’, our banking industry is menaced.
Opponents are politically marginalised, collaborators discreetly rewarded, armed forces quietly dismantled or placed under supranational command. It is happening before our eyes and yet, while the exit is still just open, we make no move to depart.
Our grandchildren will wonder, bitterly, why we were so feeble.
Samantha Brick is stirring the pot again
She says she’s proud of being a ‘trophy wife’
My husband sets me a £250 allowance each month for my wardrobe, I ask his permission before booking a hair appointment and discuss with him what I will have done.
He even has an opinion — which I adhere to — on how I dress and what I weigh. He prefers I wear classic ladylike attire and, at 5ft 11in, he insists I tip the scale at no more than 10½ stone. In fact, he’s there when I weigh myself.
At this point, many of you will be thinking I’m little more than a trophy wife for my husband, Pascal, and you’re right. I am a trophy wife — and what’s more, I’m proud of it.
Pascal has built up a very successful business, he earns more than I do and I’m lucky enough not to need to bring a salary into the home, though I still work part-time to keep my wits about me.
Pascal is a Frenchman with particularly traditional views. He is a decade older than me and unashamedly tells people he chose me for my looks. But that doesn’t make me a designer-clad airhead who’s only interested in getting my hands on his cash.
People disapprove of relationships like ours because they assume love doesn’t enter the equation — that our marriage is merely an exchange of commodities: my youth and good looks for his wealth. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Whatever else the naysayers may throw at us, I’m comfortable with my trophy-wife status for two reasons: Pascal and I are deeply in love and I adore being treated like a princess.
And even in these egalitarian times, many people enjoy this kind of marriage — even if most are shy of the ‘trophy wife’ tag.
Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein and Rod Stewart are known for their clout in their fields and for their choice of younger, attractive wives: Melania Trump, Georgina Chapman and Penny Lancaster respectively.
These are smart women, just like me, who are more than a decade younger than their other half. They staunchly support their husbands and, in return, receive a wonderful lifestyle.
Reading all this, it might surprise you to learn I started out as a strident career woman. My formative years were during Thatcher’s Eighties. Being a kept housewife was out; becoming a financially independent career girl was in.
I even found myself a younger, prettier husband — one who earned less than I did. At the time of my first marriage, in my early 30s, I was working as a successful TV boss on a six-figure salary and turning over millions of pounds each year. I wore the trousers in the office and at home, and enjoyed it — for a while.
Inevitably, when you earn more than your husband, the financial responsibilities fall on your shoulders. I asked him to pay the mortgage one month and he agreed only after I assured him I would pay him back within the week. I paid for the running of our home, forked out for our holidays and it was even left to me to fund our wedding and honeymoon.
But I knew I had to get out of the relationship when I found myself writing cheque after cheque for all of our outgoings. It wasn’t the money that upset me, I just found it deeply unattractive to have a man so dependent on me. Having our roles reversed in that way — me as the breadwinner, he the part-time worker — meant my respect for him evaporated and so, eventually, did my love.
I was in my mid-30s when I met my second husband, Pascal. From our first date I knew he was a man who cherished physical looks. He complimented me on my legs, my eyes, my figure. He would endlessly tell me how beautiful I was. He wasn’t attracted by my career or my bank account. Instead he viewed me as a prize to be won and, to my surprise, I found his approach seductive.
Pascal likes being a proper gentleman — the idea of going Dutch in a restaurant is abhorrent to him. On our first date it was the first time anyone, other than a chauffeur, had opened a car door for me. I loved it — it made me feel special.
Throughout our courtship I received flowers, and was taken to boutiques, where he would hand over his credit card. He’d have a bottle of my favourite champagne on ice when I arrived at his home. When a man goes to that much effort, why wouldn’t I want to go the extra mile for him?
Before our dates I would ensure I looked my best, spending hours on my grooming routine. I’d style my hair the way he liked it, down and slightly tousled, ensure I’d painted and filed my nails and applied a light layer of sun-kissed fake tan. I even ditched my wardrobe of designer trouser suits and rediscovered a love of floral dresses.
Since the time of our blossoming romance, a day has not gone by where I haven’t made an effort with my appearance. It pains me to read that women such as Hillary Clinton feel they’ve reached an age where they no longer need make-up.
If a woman doesn’t make an effort, it’s perfectly logical that her husband will assume it’s because she feels he’s not worth making an effort for. Can you then blame a man for looking elsewhere? A trophy wife, however, would never make such a mistake. It’s part of our job description to look good and support our husbands at all times. Pascal and I understand what the other wants. It’s not something we’ve ever discussed, but we both know my role in our relationship is integral to its success.
My husband runs a thriving building company where we live. When we met I was shown off to everyone as yet another perk of his success. We regularly socialise with other suppliers, clients and colleagues. They’re all his age — in their 50s — and love seeing a ‘blonde poppet’ (as I’ve been described) on his arm.
At first, I found such a label ghastly and patronising, but I defy any woman not to be secretly flattered by such accolades when they’re genuinely given as an appreciation of your femininity.
I know my place in the home – in the bedroom and kitchen I’m a consummate professional
I’m friendly and charming to those he works with and it’s fair to say they soon realise I might be an attractive blonde, but I’ve got a brain, too.
Pascal’s business has expanded because of me. It helps that I turn the heads of his friends in a male-dominated industry.
Most of the other wives are older and are focused on their families first, their husbands a poor second. My day is organised around my husband: isn’t that what all wives should do? I know my place in the home — in the bedroom or the kitchen, I’m a consummate professional.
I don’t make the mistake of suffering from headaches when I’m between the sheets or feign sleepiness when my husband makes amorous advances. In the kitchen, I put on my apron and prepare Pascal a home-cooked meal twice a day, every day. I wouldn’t dream of serving him up something out of a packet.
Each afternoon, before his siesta, I massage his head and shoulders with lavender oil. When he arrives home in the evening, I greet him with an aperitif. Having been married before, we both know about modern relationships — shouty, stressed wives trying (and failing) to do it all, husbands who stay out all hours to avoid the messy domestic scene at home, only convenience food on the table and growing resentment destroying the relationship.
We knew we didn’t want that again — that’s why this works for us. A man who covets a trophy wife has nothing in common with those in-touch-with-their feelings metrosexual men. Accordingly, I don’t witter on about PMT or yell at him when I’m stressed. That’s what my friends and mum are for. If I’m poorly I keep out of his way. I knew from the start he was ill-equipped to deal with me when I’m not bright and cheery.
I’d be lying if I said there weren’t downsides to being a trophy wife. I know I’ll have to maintain my figure and looks. Pascal is adamant that even as I get older, it’s no excuse to let myself go. As a younger wife, you battle against the assumption you’re a gold-digger crossing off the years until your beloved is six feet under. But I have my career and own income, so my lifestyle wouldn’t suffer if I wasn’t with Pascal.
In France, there’s a flippant word used to dismiss trophy wives: potiche. It translates as an ornamental vase — something that exists purely because it looks good. Yet I don’t find it at all dismissive. We trophy wives are decorative, treasured and highly valued. And to me, that can never be a bad thing.
Private school graduate says academic dominance of private schools is damaging social mobility in Britain
He’s quite right but the challenge is to raise the dismal standards of most government schools. And to do that the dominant Leftist ideas of how to educate would have to be abandoned. The private schools do so much better because of the more traditional style of education that they provide
The sheer gulf in standards between state and independent schools is holding back social mobility and damaging the economy, according to the Deputy Prime Minister.
He said children educated in the private sector were three times more likely to achieve at least two As and B at A-level – the entry requirement for many top research universities – than pupils in state schools.
The gap in results between different school types is wider in Britain than almost any other developed country, it was revealed.
The comments were made as he prepared to launch a new drive designed to boost standards among poor children.
On Tuesday, the Government will unveil a list of “social mobility indicators” designed to track the progress of deprived pupils – guiding future policy decisions on education, health and employment.
Speaking ahead of the announcement, Mr Clegg, who attended fee-paying Westminster School in central London, said education was “critical to our hopes of a fairer society”.
But he added: “Right now there is a great rift in our education system between our best schools, most of which are private, and the schools ordinary families rely on. “That is corrosive for our society and damaging to our economy.
“I don’t for a moment denigrate the decision of any parent to do their best for their child, and to choose the best school for them. Indeed, that aspiration on behalf of children is one of the most precious ingredients of parenthood. “But we do need to ensure that our school system as a whole promotes fairness and mobility.”
The comments come just weeks after Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said levels of social stratification in British schools were “morally indefensible”.
He said public schools were already significantly over-represented in politics, the judiciary, banking and FTSE 100 boardrooms.
But Mr Gove insisted there was also evidence of the creeping influence of independent education on industries dominated by young adults in their late teens and 20s, including acting, sport, comedy and music.
Some seven per cent of state school students achieved AAB at A-level in 2011, compared with 23.1 per cent among pupils from the independent sector, figures show.
International research reveals that the gap in attainment between teenagers from state and private schools is now the fourth biggest in the world.
In a speech to the Sutton Trust charity on Tuesday, Mr Clegg will outline plans for a new set of indicators to measure the impact of Government policies designed to improve social mobility. This includes assessing the number of poor children who go on to gain good A-levels.
It comes on top of the introduction of the “pupil premium” – a cash bonus for schools teaching poor children. This year, head teachers received £488 for each child eligible for free school meals, rising to £600 in 2012/13.
Another glass of doublethink?
As you may have noticed, we’ve been pretty preoccupied with the nanny state this week. With Monday’s minimum alcohol pricing announcement in Scotland, Tuesday’s release of “The Wages of Sin Taxes”, Chris Snowdon’s excellent debunking of the arguments for sin taxes, and yesterday’s call by British Medical Association writers to bring in a “fat tax” on fatty foods (not that anyone can agree on what those are), it seems that there’s hardly a single bit of fun someone in power doesn’t want to discourage with a tax or price floor.
It’s all very dispiriting, but what’s striking is how economically sound it all is. These paternalists might have no regard for individual liberty; they might have a puritan’s appreciation of the power of a bottle of wine to lubricate human relationships; they might even long for two extra years in a care home in Kent. And you have to admire their pragmatism in stamping out the things they disapprove of — generally speaking, poor people living unhealthy lifestyles. They grasp the fundamental law of economics that incentives matter.
But in in proposing things like taxes on Coca-Cola are price floors for alcohol, the puritans have given the game away. They’ve accepted free market logic that contravenes all the other things they tend to support. If taxing Coca-Cola makes people drink Coca-Cola less, then taxing work via the income tax must make people work less. If a price floor for alcohol makes people drink less booze (binge drinkers’ low price elasticities of demand notwithstanding), then the price floor for labour we call the National Minimum Wage must make firms hire fewer people.
Even the infamous “pasty tax”, which I oppose – there’s no such thing as a good tax rise, in my book – is criticised by many on the left as a tax on “working class food”. What is a minimum price floor on alcohol, if not an attack on “working class booze”?
The elite that wants to impose its lifestyle on the rest of us may be using this sort of thinking for evil, but more people accepting the logic of economic thinking is generally a good thing. Not many people actively want more unemployment or less productivity. With any luck, it will turn out that not many people actively want to be told by their betters how to eat and socialize either.
Another iatrogenic disaster
Despite all the regulators
In 2008, Emma Murphy phoned her partner Joe at work. ‘I know what’s wrong with the children,’ she said.
For four years the couple had been perplexed by the health problems that affected their daughters Chloe and Lauren and their son Luke – and their GP had consistently dismissed their concerns.
It was only after watching a television programme about Fetal Anticonvulsant Syndrome (FACS) that Emma realised the children, who all had special needs, had been irreversibly damaged in the womb by the anti-epileptic drugs she had taken since she was 12.
After the scandal of the devastating birth defects caused by the morning-sickness drug Thalidomide in the Fifties, it seems inconceivable that the same situation could occur again. But for thousands of families in the UK, the word Epilim has the same sinister connotations.
It has been prescribed since 1978 and reports of the ingredient sodium valproate causing birth defects such as spina bifida go back almost as far. FACS is believed to have affected up to 20,000 babies – ten times more than Thalidomide.
FACS is thought to be caused in the first three months of pregnancy when an anti-epileptic drug crosses the placenta into the foetus. Effects depend on the dosage and the drug.
There are three FACS syndromes, each involving different anti-epileptic drugs and each with their own set of symptoms. In 2010, Epilim was taken by more than 21,500 women aged between 20 and 39 for epilepsy and other conditions. It is indicated in 80 per cent of cases of FACS.
Dr Peter Turnpenny, clinical geneticist at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, says: ‘Epilim may affect about 560 babies every year, and 10,000 to 20,000 since being introduced to the UK.’
FACS is, Dr Turnpenny points out, less dramatic than the missing and distorted limbs caused by Thalidomide, but the neurological effects are far worse. ‘About ten per cent of foetuses exposed to sodium valproate will have a major congenital malformation such as cleft palate. Twelve per cent are likely to be diagnosed with a neuro-developmental disorder.’
Emma, 31, was prescribed Epilim after developing epilepsy as a girl. She and Joe, 39, a taxi driver, were oblivious to the concerns about the drug.
Their first three children were born prematurely. Within 24 hours they became limp and unresponsive. All had delayed speech and Lauren and Luke were late walkers. Lauren was diagnosed with cerebral palsy aged two.
Emma saw the TV programme on FACS when she was four months pregnant with their youngest daughter Erin, now four. She heard one mother, Janet Williams, describing the symptoms experienced by her two sons who have FACS. ‘I knew straight away,’ Emma says. She contacted the Organisation for Anticonvulsant Syndrome, a support group founded in 1999 by Janet.
Emma’s GP finally referred her to a geneticist who recognised immediately the characteristic facial features in the children – a thin upper lip, small, crowded teeth and wide nasal bridge.
A year later, Emma’s youngest son Kian was conceived – an unplanned pregnancy when Emma took a course of antibiotics that may have reduced the effectiveness of her contraceptive pill. Although Emma immediately changed her Epilim for Keppra, a newer drug with no known links to FACS, it was too late.
All five children have hypermobile joints, which means they are excessively bendy and painful at night. Lauren needs a walking frame and she and Luke have support workers at school. Joe has been forced to give up work because of Emma’s epilepsy and the children’s needs.
Janet Williams, whose sons are now in their 20s, says: ‘I saw my GP and my gynaecologist when I was pregnant and was told to keep taking the Epilim. There wasn’t an information leaflet in the box at that time. I trusted the medical profession.’
Emma agrees. ‘As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I asked my GP whether my medication was safe. Because of the severity of my epilepsy, I was under a team of medics throughout all my pregnancies. I was never warned.’
Both women are calling for anyone prescribing anti-epileptic drugs to warn of the risks during pregnancy.
‘The problem is that Epilim is a very good drug,’ says consultant neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan at BMI The London Independent Hospital. ‘These days we avoid putting women of childbearing age on it as a first-choice drug. Not all doctors are aware of the risk.’
No one is suggesting that women stop taking their anti-epileptic drugs. ‘Major convulsive seizures could cause injury to the baby or a miscarriage, but there are other effective drugs available that are known to be safe during pregnancy,’ says consultant neurologist Dr Jim Morrow at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.
‘If you have epilepsy and are considering having children, see your specialist and plan two years in advance as it may take this long to change your drug regime,’ adds Dr O’Sullivan.
A spokesman for Sanofi, which makes Epilim, says: ‘We have always provided appropriate information and warnings in relation to the potential side effects and risks associated with use of this medicine, including risks to the unborn child, in line with developing scientific knowledge.
‘Sodium valproate remains the most effective treatment of generalised epilepsy. Sanofi has been proactive in supporting ongoing research to evaluate the risk-benefit profile in all patient groups and continues to work closely with the scientific and medical communities.’
But David Irwin, solicitor at medical specialists Irwin Mitchell, claims the manufacturer did not give adequate warnings in its product leaflets before 1997. In 2006, about 140 affected families launched a case against the manufacturer. It collapsed last year and legal aid was withdrawn as it was thought there was insufficient evidence to win.
Emma doesn’t care about compensation, just that other families are not torn apart. ‘Our lives revolve around caring for the children’s complicated health needs and we don’t know what the future holds,’ she says. ‘I want the medical profession to be educated about it and for women to be in a position to make an informed choice.’
Scotland: Police Arrest Six for Facebook Hate Speech
“On Wednesday, The BBC reported that police in Glasgow had arrested and charged six Facebook users for “breach of the peace with religious and racial aggravations.” These charges were based on the fact that the users had, allegedly, created a Facebook page called “Welcome to Israel, only kidding you’re in Giffnock,” upon which several posters mocked and insulted members of the Giffnock Jewish community. According to Jennifer Lipman of The Jewish Chronicle, messages left on the page included statements including “F*** the Jewish Zionist” and “Jewish scum.”
The arrests came after Stewart Maxwell, Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for West Scotland asked the chief of the Strathclyde police to investigate those responsible for creating the page.
Police responded by sending nearly 50 police officers to raid at least seven different locations in the Glasgow area. During the raid, police confiscated what members of the local media described as “a significant quantity” of computer equipment. Police officials said that they hoped their actions demonstrated that Scotland would not tolerate hate crimes.
Speech that would be protected free speech in the USA is a “crime” in Scotland
There is a substantial body of opinion among Jewish writers which says that antisemitic speech should not be suppressed. Suppressing it probably leads to heightened antagoniusm towards Jews and in fact feeds the myth that the Jews control the government.