Calling on the Government to protect older people’s human rights

Age UK handing in a petition to the Department of HealthYesterday morning, Age UK handed its petition into the Department of Health, calling on the Government to close a loophole that means some older people receiving care are not directly covered by the Human Rights Act because of the way their care is arranged and paid for.

It’s an absurd situation. Two people living in the same care home could have different rights and protections because of this loophole. That means that when abuse and neglect takes place, some people have fewer options for redress. We think this is wrong.

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Care in crisis – massive fall in care spend for older people since 2010

This blog was contributed by Jill Mortimer, Policy Adviser at Age UK

Older lady with carer in care home

When we first started our research for the Age UK Care in Crisis 2014 briefing, we expected to find that there had been some reduction in funding for older people’s social care services, given the continued pressure on public funding.

However, we had hopes that the Better Care Fund announced by the Government last year would put the system on a better financial basis, as well as improve the system by encouraging more joint working between health and social care locally.

And we were encouraged by the Care Bill’s emphasis on health and wellbeing as providing a really good starting point for better supporting older people’s aspirations and needs.

However, our research has shown us that the current social care system is in even deeper crisis than it was when we published our last briefing in 2012.

There have been even more dramatic real-term cuts in the funding available to social care services, despite transfers from the NHS to try and protect services. Continue reading

Sign up to take part in Carers Week 2014

Staff from charities taking part in Carers WeekCarers Week 2014 launched last week. Age UK wants to encourage as many people as possible to take part to help carers across the UK. The week itself doesn’t take place until 9-15 June 2014, but the door is now open for those who want to sign up to get involved.

Every year Carers Week is a chance for us to highlight the amazing contribution carers make to our society, whether they’re caring for a sibling, parent, partner, child or friend. There are 6.4 million unpaid carers in the UK and many of these put their own health, work and social lives to one side to care for loved ones.

Many people first come into contact with social care during a health crisis such as a hospital admission, when they and their families are often distressed. The system is very complicated and important decisions are often made very quickly and without proper independent information and advice.

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From the 1953 floods to today

200x160_flooded_street_main (1)Amidst all the terrible weather the recent 60th anniversary of the 1953 floods passed without much comment.

Yet on the night of 4 February 1953, a huge storm surge struck the east coast. In places the sea came 2 miles inland. 307 people were killed, including many families who died in their homes.

There was no warning and it was Britain’s worst peacetime disaster.

One of the most famous rescues was of a Miss Fowler, aged 84, of Canvey Island, Essex, with her 82 year old brother. You can see a photo of them here  but they had to spend nearly 4 days without food, light or heat before help finally arrived.

Today, this is the situation we most fear at Age UK: frail older people marooned in flooded homes, accidentally overlooked and left to suffer alone. However, so far it seems that vulnerable older people have been identified and offered the emergency relief they need, and in a timely fashion. Thank goodness.

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