I find day visits to Cardiff a bit of a trial. But this is the way it is, now that we've let our gorgeous flat in the Bay. But today's visit was really worth the trip. The Millennium Stadium was an exciting venue in which to hold the Annual Care Conference for Wales 2008. This subject area is a big interest since I became involved with care provider, EuropeanCare, and an Oxford based 'not for profit' research operation named RESEC (Research into Specialist Elderly Care). RESEC Cymru is a spin off. There were some big hitters in the Welsh 'Care' field on the platform. Learned a lot about the Commissioner for Older People in Wales, and about the regulation of care systems.
The lunchtime session on Care Villages was particularly good. In Room 28 with photographs of Triple Crown winners plastered all over the walls. The idea is that people reaching 'downsizing' age move into a 'village' environment, leasing a two bedroom property, and accessing a range of facilities supported by a service charge - on the same site as a hotel-style block which offers higher dependency care. I'm planning on a visit to the Gibraltar Care Village in Monmouth, at the invitation of session leader, Preyen Dewani.
There was a good session on the impact of the 'Credit Crunch'. Best question of the day was to Howard Crackle, speaking on behalf of The Royal Bank of Scotland. Would RBS be encouraged to lend more favourably to the care sector as a result of having new NEDs appointed by the Government, following this week's partial nationalisation of the banks. No, said Mr Crackle, but not because it would be a very dangerous precedent if banks were pressurised into lending more freely in support of policies favoured by the government of the day. His reason was that RBS is already the biggest lender to the care sector, and thus immune. Did strike me as the triumph of hope over reason. He added that he thought other banks would probably be so pressured. Hmmmm. No wonder Barclay's declined the Government's largess.
And now to read my Telegraph and emails in search of something bizarre to lighten the mood. Not many laughs around whenever I spend the day thinking about how we as a people treat our elderly - not many laughs but much satisfaction.