Bishop Nigel speaks at Parliament on Christian care of the elderly


Bishop Nigel speaks at Holyrood Parliament on the Christian care of the elderly

Looking after people in their twilight years is particularly rewarding. It says everything about our humanity and our society. As we live longer the number of elderly in Scotland is increasing. Whilst most of us will retain independent living, many will need residential care in the last lap of life. In the coming years I believe we will need to apply ever more imaginative compassion to caring for the elderly.
In Dundee the Scottish Episcopal Church runs St Margaret’s Residential Home for the Elderly. It has deep historical roots and a 21st century outlook, having served the city for over a century. Situated close to the city centre it has stunning views over the River Tay and the transforming urban scene.
Lord Provost Bob Duncan remarked when visiting for a resident’s 100th Birthday that he had no idea such a welcoming home existed in his city.
St Margaret’s provides a home for the vulnerable and their families who need reassurance and professional help. Nearly all our 32 residents cannot self-fund. Long-serving and dedicated staff pride themselves in restoring hospital leavers to mobility, self-confidence and dignity. Respite stays often become residence.
As far as possible we embrace the dementia and increasing nursing needs of our elderly residents. Our irrepressible activity staff have a 1001 ideas for every week of the year. Giving our residents choice is a key principle.
St Margaret’s is full but never complacent. We are praised and challenged in equal measure by the Care Inspectorate. We have plans to add bedrooms and expand the social areas. Always looking for ways to improve.
I welcome the Scottish Living Wage for Care Workers as affirming their important work, and simply ask that local authority funding for our residents keeps pace. As a Registered Charity our business plan is very tight.
St Margaret’s has a Christian ethos. As we approach Christmas we retell the story that Christ made his home among us so that we might live with him. As our Manager, Elaine Kerr, says, “I don’t see St Margaret’s as my workplace so much as being invited in each day by the residents into their home.”
Presiding Officer, Members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you today. May I wish you every blessing for the Christmas season, and success for your work in the coming New Year.

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