Sheltered housing wardens.

April 10, 2009 susettepalmer

The last Council meeting before the end of the Council Year discussed the removal of wardens from sheltered housing.  The Conservative administration remains adamant that it is not needed. It is.  The Lib Dem group feel strongly that it is a needed and valued service.

I understand that the Conservative Party in Barnet has different ideals to ours. What I cannot understand is the apalling way that they giggled among themselves while this serious item was being discussed.

An appeal to the Mayor brough no reprimand to them, just the suggestion that “Cllr Palmer should go back to her knitting”.

How did they get to be so arrogant (and so wrong).


Entry Filed under: Barnet Council,Knitting

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Vernony  |  April 11, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Lets’ examine the facts. People are in Sheltered Housing because they want to be there, they have given up homes and even sold their homes to be in Sheltered Housing. Who are the Conservatives, or any other political party to tell the people who have exercised ‘choice’ that they know better than them ?

    The problem, to the younger set, is that the cannot put themselves in place of the elderly and envisage the restrictions in mentality and physical ability that come with age. To a younger person: ‘If you are ill, pull the alarm cord’, is a perfectly logical answer to the problem. Of course it is not, unless they wish to pay for ambulances going constantly to and fro to Sheltered Housing. Statistics are also amassing showing that people are dying in Sheltered Housing and found up to weeks afterwards. They all had perfectly good alarm systems in their quarters !

    In truth many of the elderly feel ill every day of their lives and there is no magic machine that tells them that the dizzy spells and thumping heart are any different to the dizzy spells and thumping heart they have experienced off and on for months, or even years, so ask your councillors at what point do they recommend that the elderly resident should call emergency services ?

    A good Warden provides low level care that can, and does, prevent emergencies. You probably saw the recent Panorama program a Warden would probably notice if Adult Care was failing one of his/her residents and would take action immediately. Moreover, in collecting the elderly together in purpose built accommodation, such as Sheltered Housing there is a reduced amount of travelling time between patients, thus more are able to be seen. Furthermore, it helps to reduce isolation in old age and houses people together of like generations and experiences: Who, has gone through WWII, has much to discuss with the younger whose experience of war and deprivation and real fear, is to be knocked out of a computer war game, or that their local football team have lost !

    There is a national campaign now which seeks to address this new abuse of the elderly by removing their care arrangements . Two cases are going through the Courts and another 15 are lined up to proceed if the previous two are won. In the even there are probably a lot more that will come forward as well.

    It is my personal hope that residents will not only win back their Wardens but also compensation in cases where they have been arbitrarily removed . Compensation is always a very useful tool to concentrate the minds of councils and RSLs, so please don’t forget to mention that to your Mayor I am sure it will have him/her reaching for the telephone and the legal department within minutes of receipt !


    Vernon J Yarker
    The Sheltered Housing UK Association

  • 2. Boombastic  |  April 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    How many Lib Dem Council’s have reduced or withdrawn warden services? Did these Lib Dems not share your ideals? People in power have to make tough decisions to balance the books rather than operating on a spend, spend, spend policy that would bankrupt the borough.

    • 3. susettepalmer  |  April 14, 2009 at 9:26 am

      You know what? I make my own decisions about what I believe to be right . Removing sheltered wardens from vulnerable people is wrong whoever is doing it.

  • 4. Vernony  |  April 14, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Well Boombastic not all decisions are right because they are taken by people in power ! And, like many others who adopt this sort of attitude I wonder where your loyalties would lay if it where happening to you, or your mother in Sheltered Housing ?

    Generally speaking, nationally, we have had quite a good response from Liberal MPs who are against the removal of Wardens from Sheltered Housing and it is ab LD who the Early Day Motion in the Commons and many LDs have signed it, together with MPs from other parties. The next most supportive party is the Conservatives.

    Labour, unfortunately, which is the party one would think, would champion deprived and vulnerable people more than others, in fact is the very party which is pushing through this vicious legislation aimed at taking away Wardens from elderly people.

    Incidentally too, Sheltered Housing is an established cost, it is not part of a spend spend culture.


    Vernon J Yarker
    The Sheltered Housing UK Association

  • 5. Nuala  |  August 25, 2009 at 12:05 am

    I was a residential warden and am now a scheme manager at the same scheme but not residential. I have seen my role go from a caring one to just calling the residents on an intercom. No one believes this is right. However please think of what it is like to be at work, on call, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and to take home less money than most people. The stress of living “on site” cannot be measured. You can’t relax and have a few drinks, what happens if you get called out. You can’t even have a row with our partner, someone will hear and this will be all around the scheme. This is an emotive issue and the present system is greatly lacking. But the old “warden” on call all the time and no life of their own and paid a pitance was wrong. The cold fact is we would all like staff on the scheme, on call, all the time, but who will pay for it? Residential Scheme Managers will respond to emergencies, thats why we do the job we are not the type to ignore problems. However we then do this for nothing, with very little thanks because it is expected of us. The best thing \i did for my self, my children, my marriage and my life work balance was to move off site. The self paying tenants are not willing to pay more for increased servies, housing benefit will not meet it because it is a support service, supporting people will not pay for it as they are running out of money. I can’t support my tenants as I am busy justifying supporting tenants so we don’t loose funding from supporting people. Result tenants don’t get the support they want, we want to give and everyone suffers.
    We are rapidly running out of sheltered housing, our population of elderly is growing. Sheltered housing was designed for independant self caring people. Now we have people with learning disabilities, alcohol and drug problems, mental health issues and confused frail elderly. We deal with verbal and sometimes physical abuse from tenants and relatives. Please don’t think this does not happen, if people are violent/aggressive etc when they are 30 they don’t become lovely annd fluffy when they get a pension book! And we do this for very little money with no practical support form the housing associations, except of course on paper to justify the funding.
    This is not a case of moving a “warden” back on site, we have human rights also.

    • 6. susettepalmer  |  August 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm

      Thank you for that reply. It should not be impossible to have a system which takes into account the needs of both staff and residents.

  • 7. Victor Yasker  |  August 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Nuala thanks for your comments, which I appreciate. Of course Wardens are not expected to work 27/7 nobody can do that and on call is still working. I would be the first to defend you on that. But, some people have contracts when they first came into Sheltered Housing that they would have 24/7 cover. The housing providers cannot just ditch a contract because it has become expensive ! I am afraid that is not how contracts work

    I have no sympathy whatsoever with people who get themselves into Sheltered Housing and then try opt out of paying for the Warden. Assuming that they had normal common sense then they would have known beforehand that Sheltered Housing comes with a Warden. If they have landed there by mistake or because they were temporarily homeless, they must still have agreed to the fees when the first moved in. For these latter people there is no reason why they should not have their names down on a waiting list for accommodation more suitable to their needs.

    What can be said of them, however, is that there are a lot of people in Sheltered Housing who need the Warden and it is not in the power of the
    self funders who object to paying for a warden to remove that care and support these people need.

    kind regards


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