Leon A Smith

It's all a matter of luck....

By Leon A Smith, March 2, 2011

There is a strong possibility that somebody born today may have a reasonable life expectancy of 100 years of age. A generation ago, 100th birthdays were something of a rarity – a very special occasion warranting significant coverage in the media. Today that situation is very different.


Do you have a "provincial" outlook?

By Leon A Smith, February 15, 2011

Until I visited Beijing and Shanghai last year I was always under the impression that London was a large city – I now know that it is not! I say this, of course, in relative terms. London is a very large city compared to Paris, Rome or Brighton. But put alongside the cities referred to above or alongside Cairo or Mexico City or Rio de Janeiro, it is not.


Good news stories

By Leon A Smith, February 4, 2011

There have been a number of shock horror stories in the leading national newspapers recently, including The Independent and The Daily Mail, regarding awful conditions and experiences which people have had in care homes. These stories talk of the personal experience of a mother and/or other relative.


Something of a shock........!

By Leon A Smith, January 21, 2011

This week has seen the publication of further details of the government’s plans to restructure/reorganise the National Health Service. We hear that the depth and breadth of this proposed restructure has come as something of a shock not only to many people who voted for the Conservative Party but also some of its MPs. The change being proposed is radical, far reaching and not totally thought through!

It seems that it is almost obligatory for a new government coming in to power to talk about changing the structure of the National Health Service!


Can one make gefilte fish without carrot?

By Leon A Smith, January 12, 2011

As someone who runs a large care home for older members of the Jewish community, I find myself with a myriad of different responsibilities and matters that need dealing with on a day to day basis. There is however an all pervading theme which runs through life at Nightingale. We care for 200 people and 75% of them are female. They are all Jewish. What particular subject might be of interest to them other than food?


Whitechapel, Aldgate and other East End landmarks....

By Leon A Smith, December 17, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I installed in the lobby at Nightingale some wallpaper with a difference. Not wallpaper in The Lord Chancellor- £400 a roll sense! But nevertheless wallpaper with a difference. I can only really describe this by referring to it as “reminiscence wallpaper”. Basically it is a photo montage of various scenes from Whitechapel, Aldgate, and other East End landmarks from the 30’s. The reason that I installed this wallpaper (which did not cost £400 a roll) was for both aesthetic reasons and for reminiscence purposes.


University fees.......

By Leon A Smith, December 13, 2010

None of us could have failed to notice the emotive debate accompanied by the violent protests in the Centre of London by those demonstrating against the university fee increases from £3,000 to £6,000 or £9,000 per year. These fees seem totally insignificant when compared to the cost of caring for an older person – which is likely to be many times that cost.


England will not be hosting the World Cup in 2018...........

By Leon A Smith, December 7, 2010

As a child and in my teens I often used to fantasise/project forward to being an adult. One of the things that I used to dream about in the 1950s and 1960s was what “…..what would it be like celebrating the year 2000?


Working with older people is a privilege

By Leon A Smith, November 30, 2010

Another fascinating day at Nightingale with a visit on Friday from David Baddiel. It’s amazing how generous busy people can be with their time. David kindly schlepped across London to be with a group of Nightingale residents – average age 89 with many of them in their 90’s. He spoke to them in a totally non patronizing way about his background, his work, football and the World Cup, his novels and film.


Reaching a grand age can be a mixed blessing !

By Leon A Smith, November 23, 2010

Yesterday residents at Nightingale enjoyed a visit from Michael Palin who spoke of his career and travel and a large group of residents had the opportunity to chat with him over tea……….

……and on Friday I had the pleasure of celebrating a 101st birthday with one of our residents here at Nightingale.
Margarete is an amazing person – kind, gentle, softly spoken with a glint in her eye.

Margarete is one of 12 residents at Nightingale aged 100 and over – I like to think it’s the way we look after our residents!


Migrant Workers Apply Within...

By Leon A Smith, November 5, 2010

Common sense dictates that allowing more people into an island where resources are already stretched will inevitably lead to overcrowding.

Unfortunately, the Home Office flagging of an ‘overcrowded’ Britain has led to an overreaction, with the stepping up of their points based system for new immigrants.


News sources have highlighted the difficulty for skilled workers to seek employment in the UK and sadly, this will only be made more difficult for all sectors following the new immigration cap.


Don't Overlook Dementia

By Leon A Smith, October 29, 2010

The leader in Wednesday’s Daily Telegraph highlights the short fall in dementia care and research in this country and is well worth the read:


The crux of the article is summed up in the first line: “Dementia is our most pressing, and costly, medical and social problem.”

I very much hope that all care homes will welcome National Dementia Declaration, which was launched on Tuesday by 45 organisations – setting out a new approach for treatment is indeed a hugely important step in the right direction.


Comprehensive Spending Review - robbing Peter to pay for Paul?

By Leon A Smith, October 22, 2010

Many social care charities across Britain will have welcomed the government’s announcement in the Comprehensive Spending Review that £2 billion is to be provided for adult care. However, if we look closely at this new allocation, as half of the allocation is coming from the NHS, is this really new money for the sector or is it more of a ‘robbing Peter to pay to Paul’ mentality?