The things you see – and fear – in aged care

Advocate Peter Leith is not one to mince words. Today, he puts the focus on aged care.

The things you see – and fear – in aged care

Peter Leith is not one to mince words. He believes there is much to fix in the world and, at 90, continues to advocate for those less able to do so. Today he puts the focus on aged care.


They have lived in the same country town all their lives. He is considerably older. Once their kids had grown up and left home, they sold the garage. He ‘potters around’ fixing old cars at home. She went to work, as a personal carer, in the small, local aged care home.

Over the years, she has steadfastly refused promotion to a supervisory or ‘front-office’ position.  She much prefers, as she puts it, “to work hands on with the residents”.

What distresses Bonnie most is working with the residents who are incontinent – not so much those who have dementia or Alzheimer’s and do not know when they dirty themselves, but those who do know, but cannot control their bowels or bladder.

As Bonnie says: “They feel so guilty and ashamed at what we were all taught to regard as ‘baby behaviour’.” She then goes on to add: “And I wonder whether it will ever happen to Tim, or me, and that is a big worry.”

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    29th Mar 2020
    Not much regard for treating pain either. The government seems to have General practitioners playing drug police.
    Hell, if a person in their latter years needs Endone every day to treat nerve pain, then stop prioritizing imaginary side effects and relieve the persons pain.
    29th Mar 2020
    There doesn't need to be a age limit, it should be life expectancy and pain related. Everybody has differing degrees of pain tolerance. My wife (67) asked our doctor for pain relief about 2 weeks ago. We have known one another for 50 years and married for 47 and this is the first time. A ex nurse she has a very high pain tolerance, me (72) just the opposite.
    29th Mar 2020
    If the words, "dirty themselves" are used, then those with incontinence issues will feel shamed.

    My father needed codeine in his 80s for IBS. His GP worried about my father becoming addicted to codeine! As if it mattered if he did at that age!
    30th Mar 2020
    Any aged person who has to sit in their own excrement for many hours will be at risk of skin conditions at the very least - those with a catheter will be at risk of bladder infections with similar symptoms to stroke or dementia. Many aged people, who are extremely smart, are treated as if they were imbeciles.
    30th Mar 2020
    Many people cannot wait for hours for staff to help them toilet themselves so they are expected to them sit in their own excrement and urine when they cannot hold on.

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