Thursday, 17 April 2014

Inquiry calls for housing changes to support elderly

An inquiry into care for older people has called for housing, health and social care to be integrated in order to help people maintain their independence.

The all party parliamentary group on older people’s housing and care has published a report, Living well at home, which draws together evidence heard at a series of parliamentary sessions.

It said the home can either be the cause of older people having to move into expensive residential care or have prolonged stays in hospital or the home can prevent the need for institutional care and instead enhance quality of life in retirement.

However, the group heard that some people were waiting more than two years to have aids and adaptations installed in their home, and that there was a shortage of grant for home adaptations.

The inquiry, which was chaired by Lord Best, called for the integration of housing, health and social care services at a strategic level and for government and local agencies, including housing providers, to help older people remain in their homes.

It suggested that health and wellbeing board – panels of local providers who decide on the delivery of health services – could be a vehicle to better integrate housing services.

Lord Best said: ‘Paying for care is rightly near the top of the political agenda at present, but there’s a wider picture. Spending money on people’s homes can save far more in health and care services.

‘Our inquiry found lots of examples of excellent practice, with innovative councils and providers leading the way. We need to build on these by acting now to offer older people the housing choices that enable them to live well at home for longer.’

Readers' comments (6)

  • Is this age discrimination?

    Im not denying the validiy or rationale of this article and report, yet it only seems to advance the case for one age group and not for all vulnerable people.

    One other point - if the savings claimed benefit health and social care then why should housing pay for others to save?

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  • Jono

    Jack wrote:

    "Is this age discrimination?" Yes it is.

    "Im not denying the validity or rationale of this article and report, yet it only seems to advance the case for one age group and not for all vulnerable people." Yes Jack, it is affirmative discrimination. Do you oppose this? Do you oppose collectivism? Promising.

    "If the savings claimed benefit health and social care then why should housing pay for others to save?". Jack, Jack, Jack, this really isn't in tune with your other post is it now. I thought you were all about reducing the tax burden.

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  • The older people agenda will continue to gather momentum and importance in the coming years as the number in this group, living well into their 80's and 90's, increases significantly.

    Is there really a case for expecting older, frail vulnerable adults requiring support, to stay in their homes for as long as possible until they are literally carried out. I don't see it.

    Residential care and other similar institutions is not the answer because of exorbitant fees, but encouragement to live independently in say an assisted living scheme might be a better way forward.

    The other problem here is under-occupancy. Where is the validity of spending vast grants on adaptations to keep a single old and frail individual, who is rolling around in a large 3/4 bedroom home and unable to maintain it, when there are vulnerable groups (eg large, young hard-pressed families) who are living in over-crowded spaces.

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  • Jono - there is a difference between age discrimination and positive discrimination, a subtle one perhaps but a distinct one. This is a clear case of the older persons lobbies asking for preferential treatment based on age and that is age discrimination. This goes on top of the positive discrimination they already have over younger age groups.

    Tax savings? Your view supposes that there can be such a thing as joined-up government where health, probation, police, social services and housing for example get together in a common interest. The naivety of such a view when in reality its a case of "it aint coming from my budget" mentality that prevails and always will is stark.

    To put this into context the national report on SP for example demonstratedd that greater savings to the public purse can be and are made from investing in younger persons services not older persons ones. That same principle is the substance of the above article invest to save (elsewhere). It wont happen but if it did it should be on the nasis that the greatest return is funded first, that is the greater the savign the greater (and higher priority) the investment.

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  • In a review of sheltered housing I worked on we came across a former war hero in his nineties who was summoning his carers, social workers and family quite literally dozens of times each day. Stressed out staff were too busy to help and just tried to ensure he had no medical emergencies. Unfortunately, they had slipped into just seeing him as a terrible strain on them, which he was. He was very distressed and unhappy. We experimented in finding ways to help, listening to him to try and meet his needs, operating outside the usual procedures and processes. We found out he had never collected his war medals and arranged for them to be collected. Armed with a new found pride, we physically introduced him to some other residents at a day care centre, which he liked and started visiting regularly. Afterwards he was much happier, and didnt call for help at all.
    This is not an isolated case.
    The starting point for integrated services is an effective customer contact arrangement, one which cuts through an often confusing, unwieldy array of contact centres, listens to individual needs and tries to meet those needs. We need to find out how people want to communicate with us and build it around that, striving to deliver the value work first time. Everything else will flow from there.
    It is that easy, but changing from where we are to there, whilst keeping services going, is actually very hard.

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  • Only One

    Lord Best = Chair of Hanover (specialist older persons housing provider) so you would expect him to support, in the name of self-interest!! And this issue has been heading towards us for years now and nothing has been done about it. Now it is nearly on us we are considering thinking about it. Next it will be here and we'll all be running round in a flap!!! Same old same old.

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