elderly care two

Care for the Elderly



nurse on the go increasingly
elderly intention grow/grew/grown
suffer attention compression
bout dizziness administer
task overtime medication
attend contact (2) sympathetic
extra train (2) rheumatism
need patient (2) lend an ear
up to look after straightforward (2)
retiree stocking double park
rush stuck (2) rather than
promise write off improvement
routine announce minister (2)
care (2) believe (2) eat my hat
pay sound (2) frustration
acute homecare impossible
glad document nursing home
fresh senior (2) ingredient
allocate four-walls demand (2)
willing unrealistic


Video: Care Giving



Rosa Lopez is always on the go. The Spanish-born nurse works in Berlin. She loves her job. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do it well.

Rosa Lopez, Homecare Nurse: “There are growing numbers of elderly people who need help — and fewer and fewer individuals willing to the job.”

Rosa looks after up to thirty people a day.

Kristal Kohler suffers from frequent bouts of dizziness, and can rarely leave her bed. Nurse Rosa administers her medication. Seven minutes are allocated for this task.

But Mrs. Kohler wants to show pictures of her daughter’s wedding, which she could not attend.

Kristal Kohler: “I couldn’t get to the wedding.”

Nurse Rosa lends a sympathetic ear, comforts her . . . and stays and extra twenty-five (25) minutes.

Rosa Lopez, Homecare Nurse: “We’re the only people she has contact with. And when we go to her, she wants to talk. This is what a lot of patients need: attention, someone to talk to, who can just sit with them and listen. Ask questions and help them.”

Mr. Matthes is more straightforward. He’s quite happy. But his wife is away at the moment. At eighty-one (81), all he needs help with are his compression stockings.

Otto Matthes, Retiree: “What should you expect at eighty-one? By that age, society has basically written you off. If you didn’t have your family, you’d be completely stuck.

The stockings are on in five minutes. But documenting the visit takes extra time.

Then Nurse Rosa rushes to the car — as so often it’s double parked. She would love to tell the politicians, who so often promise improvements, what her daily routine is like; such as Germany’s Health Minister who has just announced he wants to create eight-thousand (8,000) care giving jobs.

Rosa Lopez, Homecare Nurse: “If he does that, I’ll eat my hat. I don’t believe it at all. There aren’t any care givers — he has to train them first, and that takes years.”

Journalist: “That sounds like frustration.”
Rosa Lopez: “Yes. It is frustrating when you have more and more patients, and less time. And the pay is too low.

Of course that’s frustrating. Who would want to do this job?

No one.”

Her next patient is ninety-four (94) year old Ruth Helmig, who has lived alone since her husband died.

Her acute rheumatism makes it impossible to take her own medication. She’s glad to have this help, rather than go into a nursing home.

Ruth Helmig, Retiree: “I will not leave my beautiful home. I can cook for myself. I use fresh ingredients. Every day. No canned food.”

Home care. Seven-hundred thousand (700,000) seniors in Germany wish to remain in their four-walls for as long as possible. And because of this, Nurse Rosa often has to work overtime.

But despite the job’s often unrealistic demands, she has no intention of quitting.


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1. Rosa Lopez is a native German. True or false?

2. Does she have a heavy work load?

3. Describe the elderly care situation. Is it the need for elderly care increasing, decreasing or remaining the same?

4. Kristal Kohler does not feel entirely happy. Is this right or wrong? Why does she feel that way?

5. Does Nurse Rosa think the elderly need more medication?

6. Nurses have to record every house visit. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. Is the government aware of the situation? Are they working on it?

8. Do the patients want to live in a nursing home or care center?

9. Rosa is passionate about her profession. Yes or no?


A. In your city or country, what happens to people when they get very old?

B. Has this been changing? What was it like in the past?

C. Is there a shortage of nurses and care givers?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. What should people do? What should the government do?

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