Category Archives: Home and Care

General Election Series: Care for today and tomorrow

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This week’s blog from our General Election Series focuses on the importance of  having access to quality health and care services for all of us as we age. 

We are living in an increasingly ageing society. There are 11 million people aged 65 or over in the UK, 3 million of whom are aged 80 or over. The number of people over 85 in the UK is predicted to double in the next 20 years and nearly treble in the next 30. This is by any measure a triumph to be celebrated.

However we are far from being prepared for all the consequences of our longer lives. The social care system is a case in point. Care services are being cut – between 2005/6 and 2013/14 the proportion of people aged 65+ receiving care fell from 15.3% to 9.1%. This means over 380,000 fewer people receiving care than a decade ago. The number of people receiving home care has fallen by over 30%. Preventative services like day care and meals on wheels have been cut by over 60%. Continue reading

Government consultation on the proposed cap on care costs: but does the cap fit?

Jenny And James - Age Uk Case Study by Sam Mellish

Many of us as we get older will need help from social care to help with things like washing, dressing and preparing meals. But paying for care can be hugely expensive and many people find themselves having to spend all of their savings for this support in later life. The Government is proposing introducing a lifetime cap on care costs in a bid to help those facing catastrophic care costs.

What’s being proposed?

Once an individual spends £72,000 on their care the Government will take over paying their costs. The idea is that this will protect people from using up all of their savings in order to fund their care. Alongside this, people will be able to keep more in savings before being eligible for financial support. Watch our film to find out more.

Whilst this sounds like a good idea in theory, there are several issues with the proposal that affect how the cap will work in practice for older people.

Firstly, you have to be assessed by your Local Authority as having high enough needs to be eligible for care (information from page 23.) This means the cap will only apply to people with higher support needs, and money people have already spent on their care won’t count towards the cap.

Continue reading

The more stringent the social care eligibility, the lower the quality of life of service users

After a comprehensive and meticulous review, we have recently published an academic paper that looks into efficiency in the provision of social care services for older people in England It is a difficult, technical piece; here we describe what we did and present the main results.

Efficiency denotes ‘doing more with less’ but sometimes is used as a euphemism for cuts.  This is not how we approached the issue. Rather, our yardstick was the quality of life of people receiving the services (that is, the users themselves). Higher quality of life equals higher efficiency. Simple.

Even if we focus on quality of life, we could think of efficiency in terms of either how to spend the least to generate a given level of quality of life or how to generate the most quality of life with the given bundle of resources available. We chose the latter approach. Focusing on spending the least would distract efforts away from people in need towards objectives expressed in expenditure items, sterling pounds, delivery contract clauses and the like. Instead, by focusing on making the most with what’s available we can learn about what may be behind that which matters to users of social care services and their families: their quality of life in relation with the care they get. Continue reading

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What works in tackling loneliness in later life?

 

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This week we have a guest blog from Marianne Siddorn at the Campaign to End Loneliness.  Age UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness have launched a new report on how to tackle this important issue.

The devastating impact loneliness can have on our mental and physical health makes it an issue we simply cannot ignore. For a growing number of older people, loneliness defines and shatters their lives.

But loneliness is also a deeply personal experience – a problem with different causes and consequences for every one of us. This is what makes addressing loneliness so complex. And despite a wide and growing recognition of the substantial public health implications of loneliness and the urgent need to take action, there is a significant knowledge gap among funders and commissioners about what really works in addressing it.

Promising approaches to reducing loneliness and isolation in later life, a report produced jointly by Age UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness, seeks to fill that knowledge gap and to offer some practical answers to that big question, what works in tackling loneliness? Continue reading