Making it easier to manage direct payments

This blog was contributed by Barbara Limon, Policy Programme Manager – Consumer and Community. 

Increasingly older people who are in receipt of funded social care are choosing to take this funding as direct payments, meaning they control the funds themselves.  Whilst there are advantages of being in control in this way we’ve found that the process of managing the cash could be made easier for older people.

direct paymentsIn our report ‘Direct payments for social care – options for managing the cash we look at what some the issues are and have identified potential solutions.  The report covers both the ‘traditional’ method of managing direct payments, via bank accounts, and at newer methods using prepaid cards.

Most of the problems we found are not new – they are simply the day to day difficulties which many older people experience in managing their money and paying for things.  Solving the problems highlighted in the report would also solve many of the on-going difficulties older people have in relation to financial services. For example, Chip and PIN card technology has generally been considered a success, but the need to remember and type in a PIN can act as a barrier to independent use of payments. Continue reading “Making it easier to manage direct payments”

Is personalisation failing older people?

This blog was contributed by Clive Newton, Age UK’s National Development Manager – Care and Communities. 

Five years on from the publication of Putting People First and Transforming Social Care, it’s time to take stock.  Have older people entered the promised land of choice and control?  Are they receiving personalised services, tailored to their individual needs and preferences?  Did the £520m Social Care Reform Grant deliver the intended transformation in the way care and support is designed and delivered?

Unfortunately, from the point of view of most older people with care and Photosupport needs, the answer to all these questions is a resounding ‘no’.  There hasn’t been a ‘strategic shift to prevention and earlier intervention’.  The system remains crisis-driven, with ever-tightening eligibility criteria.  Self-funders receive little or no support.  And even those older people who are eligible for a personal budget rarely experience any real sense of choice and control.  What went wrong? Continue reading “Is personalisation failing older people?”