04/11/2012 The Wales Report


04/11/2012

Huw Edwards presents The Wales Report from across the Atlantic. Huw speaks to voters in the swing state of Ohio and in Washington DC.


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Come this week, with it in Washington for a special edition of

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Wales Report on the eve of the presidential election. The result

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will have an impact worldwide and we will have a report on the impact

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on Wales. We will report from the ancestral home of Mrs Rumney. Stay

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Welcome to Washington DC for this special edition of Wales Report.

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The focus on the last few days has been on the focus of the

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devastation of Superstorm Sandy. But now the race is very close and

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both candidates are focusing on one thing. The state of the economy.

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How do you create growth and jobs? Obama and Romney have two different

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visions. I have been talking to one influential Welshman in Washington

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and asking him for his view about what is at stake in this campaign.

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There is such a sense of expectation here in Washington, but

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why should people care in Wales? is tremendously important, not

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least because of the uncertainty in Europe and the austerity programme.

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I think a strong and America with a clear sense of purpose over

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inconsistent time period has an enormous impact on the world

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economy and the economy of Wales and Europe in general. You are an

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avid follower of American politics. Is there Ricky it difference of

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vision between the two candidates? An enormous difference. Romney is

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relying in all of his propaganda on the idea that if you cut taxes at

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the top level you create investment and therefore jobs. He talks about

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creating 12 million jobs over four years. That will happen on the

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basis of Obama's achievement in saving the US economy from decline.

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If Obama is re-elected, there is an opportunity to continue with the

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kinds of imaginative investment that saved the US motor industry

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and got the banking sector back on a strong footing, although a lot of

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people have misgivings about many aspects of what the bankers have

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done and what they have not been rare -- reprimanded for doing.

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Obama has a much more ground it message and personal view. I am

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trying to be objective. You clearly think he is on the right track in

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terms of economics. I am wondering why it is the race has become so

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tight and why he is having a big fight on his hands to win a second

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term? Two things have happened. During the early stages of the

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campaign, he had a clear lead and then there was an extraordinary

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debate when Obama seemed to be half asleep. Somebody play and the

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altitude in Colorado and the fact he is very busy. He didn't rise to

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the occasion. Romney got a big bounce out of that. That now at

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ease, I think, declining. What we are seeing is Obama edging ahead.

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The storm last which created an opportunity for him to be seen

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working with the Republican Governor of New Jersey. He went on

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television a few days ago to say how excellent he thought Obama's

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response to that terrible disaster was. There are many things that

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resulted from Matt but it helped him recover his position a bit

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because he could be seen as the chief executive working across

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political boundaries. That was gary macro talking to me earlier. One of

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the defining issues of the first term has been the reform of health

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care. It has prompted a wider debate about the role of the state

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in providing for the vulnerable and elderly. It is an interesting

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parallel with a debate back home in Wales about the way we care for the

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elderly. The Older People's Commissioner considers that older

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people are being forced into care too soon and one doctor warns of

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Old age does not come alone. It presents new physical as well as

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mental challenges, often at a time when people have been a will,

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sometimes lonely and often vulnerable. Some find themselves

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forced out of their own home and on a merry-go-round of care homes and

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hospitals, and able to care for themselves. Well, it is where they

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could put you but because most hospitals want the birds, don't

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they? You go there and then they want the beds where so you goes

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someone else. I have done the circuit. All of them. Derek "Del

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Boy" Needs, as he had is known, has spent 12 months in and out of

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hospital and care homes in Swansea while undergoing treatment for

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advanced died BT's. You have a treat and then it is hard to do so

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they say, go on a diet. I have tried a few but always went back.

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I'd lost my leg and my toes on my right leg. During his prolonged

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stay in hospital, his partner of 23 years with who he had lived died,

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as did his brother. His life unravelled before his eyes. To make

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matters worse, he had few relatives still living in Wales to take care

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of him and the ultimate blow came when he discovered that he could

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not return to his cottage because it couldn't accommodate his

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wheelchair. With your rent,... it wasn't for the Red Cross a who

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found him sheltered accommodation, Derek would almost certainly have

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ended up in a care home, just another statistic in a long line of

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victims of the Perfect Storm of unforeseen circumstances. In less

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than 20 years, it is estimated that there will be more than one million

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people on in Wales over the age of 65. This will put enormous

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financial pressure on local authorities, health and social

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services and, not least, on individuals faced with life-

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changing decisions. Sarah Rochira is on something of a mission to

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change that situation and curb the number of elderly going into care

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homes unnecessarily. She is particularly concerned about the

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lack of information available to the elderly to enable them to stay

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in their own homes. It was only a fluke conversation I had with a

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councillor that I got the information I needed. As luck would

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have it, I have the stair lift put in and the shower put in. It still

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took about two years to get it all going, but I am so, so grateful.

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But without that conversation, I would know nothing at all and would

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have probably ended up selling the House. One thing that concerns me

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is the variation in advise people get. It can depend on whom you know

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and way you live and that is wrong. There is huge variation across

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Wales. There is good practice, but we need to see it become standard

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practice. Wales has more elderly people than anywhere else in the UK.

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An increasingly more and more of the elderly are going into care

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homes. In some cases, that move can cost them their lives. In the case

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of old people, we know many psychological traumas are

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associated with a massive spike in mortality. Dr David Leopold says

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the system keeps some elderly people in hospital for too long

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during which time their mental and physical health declines. Perhaps

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more worrying is the doctor's opinion of the decision to send

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someone into a care home from hospital is not always made at the

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patient's bedside. The final decision is rarely made by the

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doctor. You would be surprised by that, I think. The concept that

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decisions are made by the bed side, which most of us would expect and

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wish, is wrong. For many of us, indeed most of us, if we are honest,

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the prospect of ending up in a care home is something we prefer not to

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think about. His signals something quite profound and difficult in our

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lives - the moment we decide to relinquish our independence and

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place ourselves in the House -- hands of others to care for Russ.

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For some there is no choice and a good care home provides a kind of

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sanctuary. I had to think hard. I had carers in, but then I was left

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alone and I had to cope. I had to walk with a walking stick so I had

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only one hand. I had steps inside my house as well. I had a chairlift

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to go upstairs, but I couldn't cope. This home bucks any perception of

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care homes as dumping grounds for the elderly. Here, there is a

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deliberate policy to provide a stimulus and to encourage

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involvement in the kind of activities which may look mundane.

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In reality, they provide residents with a link back to a life once

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lead in their own homes. We never called them Welsh cakes. It is a

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lovely place here. How did you come to be here? I couldn't look after

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myself in the House and I didn't want to go to my son's to live.

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Why? I don't want to be a burden. Often it is a selfless Joyce, but

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no matter how good the care home, the preferred option would be to

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stay in their own homes, even if it means they take a chance of what

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remains of their lives. overwhelming number of people would

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say I would rather take the risk of dying sooner. I'm of a nature MIA...

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I would rather spend that time in my own surroundings with familiar

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things. With 23,000 elderly people already in care homes in Wales and

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growing elderly population, the older people's champion is in no

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doubt about the challenges now facing all of us. I have been

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consistently Clear as commissioner that I don't want to be the voice

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of others. I want to give the voice back to them so they can control

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their lives and the decisions they need to make. I know the Welsh

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government shares my aspirations and might challenge to -- his to

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move that took delivery so that old people have some choice over where

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they lived. A few days before I left Washington, I put the salient

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points to mark macro who chairs the social services committee. You know

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what the problem is according to the older people's Commissioner for

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Wales, that far too many people end up in care when they do not need to.

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The Health Committee's inquiry largely bears that out, although it

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is important to recognise that the number of older people going into

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residential care in Wales has fallen substantially over the last

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10 years, and if present policies continue, a reduction of 10% will

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happen in the next five years. The fall is happening because local

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authorities are much better than they once were in providing

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services for people in their own homes. People who previously would

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have needed residential care can stay for longer in the place they

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would prefer. One of the points made by the Commissioner is there

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is, if you like, a breakdown of communication meaning that the

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patterns of care are not what they should be. How do you see those

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patterns of communication? There are two points in the process.

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Early in the process, sometimes when people are waiting by

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adaptation some things in their homes but can continue to manage in

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their homes, they are not as good as they should be. But almost all

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admissions to residential care don't happen in those circumstances,

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they happen in a crisis. When something that has been holding

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someone's circumstances together fails, goes wrong, somebody else

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falls ill, whatever, and in a crisis you get an admission. Our

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focus and that of the Commission is looking at ways in which we can act

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differently in a crisis to stop an appropriate care admissions. When

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you say act differently, give me a practical example of how things

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might be different? In the past, large numbers of people have ended

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up in residential care straight from a hospital bed. They have a

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fall at home, something happens, they go into hospital and people,

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often for the best of motives, worrying about someone's ability to

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manage and thinking they need to be looked after and so on, decide

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residential care is the option. Many local authorities in Wales,

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Carmarthenshire would be a good example, now insist there is a six

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week period following people coming out of hospital in which they get

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what is called we able month, a concerted attempt to try to rebuild

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people's abilities, putting a new package around them, so they can

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manage at home. But not every county does that. Not in a

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consistent way. Almost everybody has something like it, but not

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everyone does it and the focus and concerted way that the best

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authorities manage. There is no point asking people to cope at home

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if they don't have the facilities and help necessary. Would you agree

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there are certainly plenty of examples of people ending up at

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home and actually finding they are not given the help they need?

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residential care home I have visited during Aaron Querrey, I

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have met people who have said, I am here as a matter of choice. Not

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because it was the last resort or the worst thing that could have

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happened to me, I didn't want to be at home. And the only thing I saw

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was somebody for 50 minutes in the morning and did evening and I spent

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the whole of the rest of the day worrying what would happen if I

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fell, I would prefer to be here with people around when I meet them.

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You are right, being at home in all circumstances is not a panacea for

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everybody, but where it is done well, most people would prefer it.

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There is a call for another voice, that the elderly in hospitals come

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looking for what kind of future they face, we need a voice to

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represent them which does not exist at the moment? Is that convincing?

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I'm convinced by parts, not all. I'm absolutely convinced there is a

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need for a voice of those people who want to speak up for a older

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people and make sure their views and wishes are heard more

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powerfully in the system. The system does not allow for that in

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the way it should. Do we need a new professional, an advocate, to do

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that? I'm not so sure. There are lots of people in the system,

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family friends, for example, very keen to have a stronger voice.

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There are care staff, social workers who place people in care

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homes, lots of people in the system already who should be speaking up

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for older people, but the system is not as good as it needs to be in

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allowing that to happen. A final point, are you confident that the

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quality of the system and how it supports elderly people is going to

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improve in years to come, despite the fact there are enormous

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budgetary constraints and huge financial pressures? There will be

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a lot of people watching this he will find it difficult to believe

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we can deliver a better system with far fewer resources. Paying for

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care in the future is a huge issue. It is an issue that has to be

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resolved not just at the Welsh level but UK level. We have had

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lots of evidence in our inquiry about the Dome of report and the

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urgent need for the UK Government to act on it. Until we sort out the

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fundamental question about paying for care in the future, anybody who

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has looked at the system will be anxious about how we will manage.

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Thank you. That was Mark Drakeford talking to

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me a few days ago. We have already heard from one

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Welsh voice in America, but I have been to a corner of the states

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where Welsh voices are far more familiar. The state of Ohio is one

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of the swing states in this election, every vote will count,

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including in the village of Oak Hill, a village settled by Welsh

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people in the first half of the 19th century. I have been to talk

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to one of the leading lights in the Welsh community there.

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Elizabeth, you've been here since 1974, and this is the very southern

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tip for most of Ohio. That's right. Oak Hill. What is your link with

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Oak Hill? I had relatives that emigrated here in the 1800s. Are my

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grandmother's side of the family. How many of them? There were two

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branches of the family, the Morgans and Daviess. Here we have pretty

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spectacular proof of Welsh heritage in America, what do you call it?

:20:27.:20:32.

The Welsh American Heritage Museum. It is the only one in the States?

:20:33.:20:42.
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It is remarkable. It is like stepping back 200 years. Yes.

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take a seat. From 1840, then in 1971 it is converted into a

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heritage museum? In between times, the Baptist denomination took over

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the church and the Congregational church closed. I think they kept it

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going until the late 1960s. And the church was going to be sold. So a

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group of interested people who wanted to prove that -- to preserve

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the Welshness got together and bought the Church in 1971. It is

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lovely, and there is nothing quite like it anywhere, as far as I am

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aware. You have amassed a lot of treasures? Yes. How much work was

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that? We asked people to donate things of Welsh interest to the

:21:36.:21:46.
:21:46.:21:48.

museum. Sometimes when people pass What it for you is the big value of

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this place? What does it contribute? It reminds everybody

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off the Welsh heritage and the beginnings of the people who worked

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hard when they came to Oak Hill. Most came because they were

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escaping or fleeing terrible hardship? Yes. But they found

:22:06.:22:11.

pretty tough conditions here? The first generation worked very

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hard. It was their children who reaped the benefits. What does the

:22:17.:22:23.

sense of Welshness in Oakland today? -- what is the sense of? Is

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its strong? Not as strong as when I first came here. When I came it was

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at its peak at that time. The younger people don't have much

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interest, it is very hard to attract them to many Welsh events

:22:39.:22:44.

or come to the Museum. Do you miss Wells after 28 years? Yes, over the

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years I have made frequent trips back home, twice a year. Do you

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think you would ever go back to settle in Wales at any stage, or is

:22:54.:23:01.

this home? This is home now. My children and grandchildren are here.

:23:01.:23:11.
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We're over here now. SPEAKS IN WELSH. 24 speaking to us. -- thank

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you for speaking to us. The Welsh Heritage Museum in Oak

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Hill, Ohio. There is a rich Welsh heritage and lots of the USA.

:23:23.:23:27.

Indeed, there is an unexpected Welsh flavour to the presidential

:23:27.:23:34.

campaign, given the ancestral story of Mrs Romney, whose family has

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links with Nantyffyllon. We sent the former Plaid Cymru MP Adam

:23:38.:23:48.
:23:48.:23:50.

Price, who has just been studying It is hard to avoid the razzmatazz

:23:50.:23:53.

of an American presidential election. Even at home here in

:23:53.:24:00.

Wales. Ann Romney's father was born in the street behind me. Proud of

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the Welsh working classes, she even visited the area and burned those

:24:07.:24:12.

famous Welsh cakes live on Good Morning America. It was to prove

:24:12.:24:19.

her Anglo credentials, quipped one commentator! Maybe he was thinking

:24:19.:24:23.

of Alfred the Great?! This campaign has been the longest and certainly

:24:23.:24:27.

most expensive in history. It has also been the most disappointing.

:24:28.:24:31.

Both parties ended up with a candidate that did not fire up the

:24:31.:24:35.

debates, the Democrats with a president who never really

:24:35.:24:40.

delivered on a promise of hope and change. And the Republicans with a

:24:40.:24:44.

moderate bat tilted right to win the nomination, then tilted right

:24:44.:24:53.

back again to try to win the White Who'd have thought that this most

:24:53.:24:57.

boring of campaigns would have ended in such a nail-biting finish?

:24:57.:25:02.

This is the closest presidential race involving an incumbent since

:25:02.:25:08.

1916. The Democrat Woodrow Wilson won that time around. Within a year,

:25:08.:25:12.

the United States had entered the First World War, decisively sipping

:25:12.:25:15.

their -- tipping the balance in favour of the Allies.

:25:15.:25:19.

No one is suggesting there is as much at stake for us this time

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around, but the reverberations will still be felt here in streets like

:25:24.:25:30.

this. Europe may not be at war, but it faces a severe economic crisis.

:25:30.:25:37.

President Obama is the last of the Keynesians in a world addicted to

:25:37.:25:42.

austerity. Will a Romney victory condemn us to economic oblivion?

:25:42.:25:47.

That matters in Wales. Of the 40 billion also manufactured goods

:25:47.:25:52.

that UK exports to North America every year, about 4 billion are

:25:52.:25:56.

made here in Wales. And it will be the economy that decides the

:25:56.:26:01.

election for the average American voter. One by one, states that

:26:02.:26:07.

Obama won in 2008 are slipping beyond his reach, leaving the rust

:26:07.:26:10.

belt of struggling manufacturing areas as the real battleground in

:26:11.:26:18.

this election. It sometimes feels as if the candidates are running

:26:18.:26:22.

not for the presidency of the United States but for the

:26:22.:26:27.

governorship of Ohio, a state with strong Welsh connections. It may

:26:27.:26:31.

even be that a few thousand Welsh American boats, descendants of

:26:31.:26:37.

people from valleys like this, may end up determining the fate of

:26:37.:26:45.

Barack Obama. One thing is for certain, this

:26:45.:26:49.

election is too close to call. I will make one prediction, though -

:26:50.:26:56.

whoever wins, they will be loathed by the other side but unloved by

:26:56.:27:01.

their own. This inauguration, when it comes in January, always on a

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cold winter's day, will be just a bit colder this day. And in the age

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of antipathy not just of the President but of politics itself.

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A Welsh take on the presidential contest. They will be counting the

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votes on Tuesday night and the result could affect us all. A quick

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reminder of the contact details, you can e-mail us at

:27:27.:27:29.

On the Wales Report this week - a few days before voters across the United States go to the polls in the Presidential Election, Huw Edwards presents The Wales Report from across the Atlantic. Huw speaks to voters in the swing state of Ohio and in Washington DC.


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