Care in the Community
Dear Director of Social Services,
I regret that I write to you with a
confession and an apology. I am an eighty-four year old pensioner
who lives alone in your area. My problem began about four years
ago when I had a bad bout of the flu and I was off my legs,
as they say, for nearly ten days. My daughter rang your local
office of social services and told them I could not care for
myself which, during that period, was quite true. I gather you
were very short of social workers to assess people at the time,
and the manager of your local office was worried about us old
folk during the flu epidemic. He therefore agreed that I should
have a home carer every morning and evening pending a full
community care assessment. I assume that the shortage of social
workers has continued as I have never had that assessment. As a
result, my carer has just carried on calling.
I suppose I should have told you or her
that I didnt need help any more after a fortnight, but that
kind lady who came to assist me had problems of her own at home
and seemed to appreciate the opportunity to chat, so I didnt
like to put her off.
Initially this fitted well into my
lifestyle as I would get up at five AM, go for my ten mile run
and get back in time to shower and return to bed before my carer
arrived to help me get up, wash, dress and transfer with a
walking frame to my chair. She did not return until nine PM at
night to help me undress and get to bed, so there was plenty of
time to undertake my daytime hobbies of scuba-diving, hang-gliding,
pot-holing and free-fall skydiving.
In my spare time, however, I must confess
that I have been undertaking astronaut training which has led to
my current dilemma.
I had not really been expecting to be
selected for the forthcoming lunar mission but, due to a
fortunate level of fitness for a man of my age, I have been
chosen as the first pensioner on the moon.
My well-intentioned subterfuge will
therefore inevitably come to an end. Masie, my carer, would
certainly be concerned about my three week absence while on the
space mission. I had considered pretending that I was in respite
care in an old folks home during that period. She would
doubtless, however, have noticed the press coverage of my moon
I have to concede, therefore, that I
probably do not fall within your eligibility criteria for care in
the community and that your provision of services to me should
I plan to talk frankly to Masie about this
and also cancel my Meals on Wheels and my membership of the local
Help the Aged lunch club.
Commander and Pilot, European Lunar Mission.