Care in Crisis 2012; the Architecture of Reform

Age UK’s Care in Crisis report is not only focused on the current funding crisis in social care; it also sets out what Age UK wants to see from a reformed care system. This vision has its origins in the detailed consultation and engagement which we undertook with older people in the run up to the 2010 social care white paper.

Vision is that everyone who uses care should be able to say the following;

  • I receive the care and support I need with no chance of being left without it:
  • My care and support services are high quality and safe:
  • I am able to live safely and with self-respect:
  • I am able to plan in advance before needing care:
  • I am able to pay for care in a fair and transparent way:
  • The system is clear and easy to understand:
  • No family member or friend is forced to sacrifice health, career, social life or future economic security to care for me

These priorities are based on the belief that older people, like everyone else, need to change, to grow, to adapt and to play a full role in society as citizens. The current system all too often seems to assume that all of this ends at the age of 65, after which care and support just needs to keep people safe.

In reality, however, many people face major transitions in older age. The onset of illness or disability, being diagnosed with dementia, loss of close family members, or entering a care home are all major trials of life which call into question people’s identity and future aspirations .  Care and support should be available to support people at all stages of their lives and to help people to manage transitions and life changing events.

Older people who need support may want to move to be nearer to relatives. However if someone depends on local authority care and support, moving to another local authority area can be a bureaucratic nightmare; so care packages should be portable.

Older people still want to be active, to be involved in society, the community and family and to make a contribution. Being able to achieve these aspirations is often important to people’s self image, and to their conception of dignity. So care and support should help older people to live with dignity, to be part of a community and to maintain family and social relationships.

People also need to be active as citizens. In our society, in theory if not always in practice, people should be able to challenge arbitrary decisions by the state. For people who need care and support it is particularly important that decision making is transparent and open to challenge, as the results of poor decision making by public bodies can be catastrophic for the individual. So the recommendations of the Law Commission review of adult social care law – which are to a large extent about clarifying and rationalising decision making by public bodies – should be fully implemented.

No one should ever be refused care without a proper individualised assessment of their needs, and it must be clear where accountability for decisions made by statutory bodies lies.

Many older people welcome the opportunities to manage their own care and support (though others may not). So people should be able to obtain appropriate information and support to negotiate the system and if they wish, to arrange their own care. This includes access to advocacy, and to new roles such as support brokers or care navigators.

The full set of policy calls are set out in Care in Crisis 2012.

Age UK are calling on the Government to reform the adult social care system. Find out more about Age UK’s Care in Crisis campaign and how to sign up to our petition.

Read Care in Crisis 2012






8 thoughts on “Care in Crisis 2012; the Architecture of Reform”

  1. These were two of the issues raised by a friend of mine the other day:

    “When I mentioned my job to one social worker, her response was ” oh well, you wont be able to do that now “. The immediate assumption was that because I was a carer, and past retirement age, I shouldn’t think of anything else.”

    “Another issue is the time it takes to put anything into action. Months before you can speak to social worker, months before they can do anything etc, etc. When you get to 84, as George is, time is a very precious thing.”

  2. What a miserable future for our elderly and the younger disabled people in our society – not only are we reducing the funding available to support them, but we will not let them die in dignity either by assisting them to take their own lives should they wish to. Shame on us.

  3. im not sure that asking this government to reform care of the elderly is a good thing. THEY ARE INCOMPITENTS. they are ruining this country. they have managed to scare people half to death with their reforms, have caused untold anxiety, depression and worry as to peoples futures, making carers go out to work is on the agenda leaving those they care for either without any care or at the mercy of organisations that charge them the earth and having to be cared for by strangers when their relative was doing a good job and gave them a sense of being loved still. i am 70 ,. disabled and my daughter is my carer. i dont want to be cared for by strangers. i would find it soul destroying.nor do i want people organising HOW I SHOULD SPEND MY DAYS. I AM COMPUS MENTIS AND WELL ABLE TO DO THIS MYSELF. TOO MANY PEOPLE THESE DAYS THINK THEY KNOW WHAT WE NEED. THEY DONT KNOW UNLESS THEY LISTEN TO EACH INDIVIDUAL.. NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO JOIN GROUPS. OR DINNER CLUBS. I KNOW OF SEVERAL ELDERLY PEOPLE WHO PREFER THEIR OWN COMPANY. YES THERE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NO ONE TO HELP IN THEIR TWILIGHT YEARS BUT THOSE WHO DO SHOULD NOT BE SUBJECT TO WHAT SOCIETY THINKS THEY SHOULD BE DOING. OR THINKS THEY KNOW WHAT HELP IS NEEDED. sorry to rant but im one of those this REFORM is supposed to help. from what ive read it wont and those at the top will just make things worse.
    existing carers should be given a living wage instead of the measly pittance of around 50quid a week. give them what the subsiddies will be for employing others to do their work. there are no jobs out there for these ppl. and their consciences wont let them leave their parents/kids/friends to the vultures who feed off what bit of cash they may have saved.

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