An household mess

Miss Bouwhuis has lived all her life in the east of the Netherlands. She married her husband during World War II who passed away two years ago. Now in her nineties, living alone, she talks to her grandchild who lives in Denmark using email and facetime. Due to government social policy changes uncertainty grabs her while she is waiting in her living room for an answer on what will happen with her help in her household.

The reformations in the Social Support Act within the social-healthcare system in Holland are the biggest since 1941. Municipalities are now responsible for the care of elderly. The government appeals to the self- help of the elderly and their social network.
Due to the dramatical change of the SSA and the budget cuts a lot of institutions close, leaving only the big corporations to survive. Elderly people lose touch with these changes and are uncertain what will happen. Help which was paid for for years, isn’t certain anymore. About 250.000 elderly received help in their household. Those who need help feel the effects of government choices.

Miss Bouwhuis has lived all her life in her own house, mainly due to the help in her household. Bouwhuis has received help in her household since her husband died two years ago. Government policies are now appealing to their self-help and social-networks. November 2014 Miss Bouwhuis died at age 96.

Miss Bouwhuis tries to do as much as possible on her own, but due to her arthritis and wear on her knee she is not able to do everything she would like. At all times she depends on her walking frame. Vacuum cleaning, cleaning the windows or other house hold tasks have become impossible for her to do. December 2014

Her neighbor helps her by doing grocery shopping, the laundry and helps her with stitching. The neighbor being in her eighties herself, is not capable of doing the whole household for her. December 2014

Her help is cleaning the windows, something she isn’t able to do. Her current help started in March, after a month in which she didn’t receive help or communication. It is uncertain how long her help is able to stay. Due to budget cuts organizations fall leaving only the big players to survive. July 2015

“The waiting and the uncertainty, that is what’s killing me.” says Bouwhuis. Who for months on end didn’t knew what would happen with her help in her household. December 2014