Caring for carers – round up of Carers Week

The Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron MP, speaking with older carers in Oxfordshire.
The Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron MP, speaking with older carers in Oxfordshire.

Last week marked 2015’s Carers Week- a week dedicated to raising awareness about the vital role carers play in their community, and most importantly, a week dedicated to giving carers a treat.

The week, organised by Age UK and six other supporting organisations, focused this year on ‘building carer-friendly communities’. Each day had a theme of its own, with Older Carers Day falling on Friday 12 June. Carers Week this year fell helpfully within the first month of the new parliament, and only two months after the first round of Care Act regulations protecting carers’ rights were implemented for the first time- a hot topic of conversation throughout the week.

All in all, this year’s Carers Week was the most successful yet. The Parliamentary launch event which you can read about here, saw over 130 MPs meeting carers and finding out what it’s really like to care for a loved one on a daily basis. The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, even dropped in to an Older Carers Day Cream Tea in his constituency. He thanked the carers he got to meet, and commented on the importance of their role within Britain’s ageing society.  We hope this will be the start of a positive and fruitful relationship with the new parliament as we work to make sure carers get the support they deserve.

Outside the political arena, other advances were made to improve the wellbeing of carers. Often caring can take a huge physical and emotional toll on the carer, so events like Carers Oxfordshire’s ‘Because I’m Worth It’ where older carers developed a wellbeing plan for themselves, are essential. Carers across the country were offered massages, free cakes at local cafes, and opportunities to have a chat with people who understand what it’s like to care. In addition, there were thousands of information and advice events- like Age UK Cheshire East’s information stand in a local Sainsbury’s – which are vital for making sure carers get the information they need to stay well. Keeping a carer well is, of course, linked to keeping the person they care for well, too.

At the final count before the week launched, over 2,200 individuals and organisations had signed up, there were 1,730 pledges of support and thousands of events set to take place around the UK- it seems  there is no shortage of care for carers.

For more information about our Care in Crisis campaign, visit Age UK’s dedicated website pages, or carersweek.org.

Guest blog: Uncovering the incontinence taboo in social care

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Today’s guest blog is from Professor Paul Abrams, Chair of the expert group on LUTS and highlights the issues that arise when continence isn’t given the prominence it deserves.

According to the Department of Health, incontinence is second only to dementia as a precipitating factor in care home admissions and affects nearly 2 in 3 in nursing homes.

Despite this, new analysis published by the expert group on lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) demonstrates that the majority of local authority commissioners do not view incontinence as a priority.

Continue reading “Guest blog: Uncovering the incontinence taboo in social care”

‘His Name is Charles’ – new campaign film about human rights for older people

Human rights can provide people with a way to challenge degrading or abusive treatment and provide a framework for compassionate and dignified care. This week we have launched a new campaign film to get people talking about human rights for older people.

Sadly it’s a fact that increasing numbers of older people are reporting physical abuse and neglect; ill treatment that is happening at the hands of the people who are supposed to care for them. Last year the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) reported a 20% rise in allegations of abuse, with more than a third of those cases taking place in care homes. Continue reading “‘His Name is Charles’ – new campaign film about human rights for older people”

Behind Closed Doors – why do older people still experience such poor care?

Sadly, through working on a campaign like Care in Crisis at Age UK, I’ve heard plenty of horror stories of older people experiencing poor levels of care at a time when they are most vulnerable. But even I was shocked at what BBC’s Panorama uncovered in their programme on care homes, Behind Closed Doors, this week.

Neglect, bullying and taunting, being ignored, rough treatment and even outright assault: this is what was found during secret filming in more than one care home. It left me feeling upset, distressed and angry. How is it that this sort of thing can still take place in 21st-century Britain?

Continue reading “Behind Closed Doors – why do older people still experience such poor care?”

Save Clause 48

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Imagine two people who live next to each other in a care home – one pays for their own care, the other’s is arranged by their council. Did you know that only one of these people has the full protection of the law from abuse and neglect?

It seems absurd but a loophole in human rights law means this is true. Currently, only those who have their residential care arranged by a public body are directly covered by the Human Rights Act. Anyone who pays for their own residential care or receives care in their own home has fewer rights and protections. Age UK thinks this is wrong.

One of the most exciting things that happened when the House of Lords debated the Care Bill was an amendment that sought to close this loophole. It was voting through, defeating the Government. This amendment became Clause 48 of the Care Bill, giving equal protection to everyone receiving care under human rights law. Continue reading “Save Clause 48”

Older people deserve better care in hospitals and care homes

This blog was contributed by Dianne Jeffrey, Chairman of Age UK and Co-chair of the  Commission on Improving Dignity in Care. 

Dianne Jeffrey CBE DL, Chairman of Age UK and Co-chair of the Commission on Dignity in Care
Dianne Jeffrey CBE DL, Chairman of Age UK and Co-chair of the Commission on Dignity in Care
I have always been clear that dignity and compassion must be at the heart of our health and care system.

This is why, in June last year, the Commission on Improving Dignity in Care for Older People (made up of, Age UK, NHS Confederation and the LGA) published its report, Delivering Dignity. It was the culmination of hundreds of written submissions and oral contributions from experts, clinicians and patients. In this report we set out a raft of recommendations for changing the way we design and deliver care as the numbers of older people who need care continues to grow. Continue reading “Older people deserve better care in hospitals and care homes”

Tackling the future funding of social care

Age UK has responded to a Department of Health consultation on the future funding of social care. This marks the latest stage in the long march to reform how we pay for care. The ‘Dilnot’ Commission on long term care funding recommended a new system whereby the amount that individuals would be expected to pay towards their care needs would be capped. The government has announced that it will implement a modified version of these recommendations. However there are still many unanswered questions about the new system and concern about its complexity.

The proposals are based on a new national system of eligibility for local authority care. The only spending by an individual that will count towards the 440px_older_carers_handscap is that required to meet needs which fall within these criteria – currently set at ‘substantial’ . If the criteria are too restrictive people might have spent large amounts before their outlay even starts to count towards the cap. Age UK has therefore argued that eligibility for local authority care should include people with what would currently be defined as moderate needs. Continue reading “Tackling the future funding of social care”