By Debbie le Quesne

The Big Society findings its own response to elderly care

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David Cameron calls it the Big Society – I think it’s a society in survival mode as more and more socially aware groups find new

With widespread cuts, the responsibility is falling on inspired organisations to fill the gaps in elderly care.

If this is the Government intention, I’m left speechless.

Adversity has a long track record of being a cursor for change and sometimes for the better.

Communities, neighbourhoods and families have been establishing projects that aim to enable pensioners to feel confident they will be cared for as they age – regardless of their financial situation, according to the BBC in a report posted on its website last week.

“In York, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation charity has established Hartrigg Oaks, a home for pensioners and elderly people. The idea is that residents move in when they are still fit and healthy, for instance in their 60s.

“They pay money into a communal pot – approximately £170 per month for a 60-year-old.

“This guarantees them nursing care free of charge if and when they need it – thus avoiding the potentially crippling care fees many older people pay,” the article says.

Residents John and Jennifer Mitchell, moved into her bungalow there at the age of 61. Her parents had died

Mr Mitchell is quoted as saying: “You’re paying effectively care insurance. You pay the same sum, effectively year on year, with small increases which covers your care, however much you need.

“When you’re fit, okay you pay over the odds, when you need major care you don’t pay a penny more for it.”

Another idea – already popular on the continent – is the homeshare.

An NHS carer moves in permanently and rent free with an old person who needs help. In return they perform 10 hours of help a week.

Iona Anderson, who lives in Wickford, Essex, has been cared for by 45-year-old live-in NHS worker Graham Allen for the past two years.

He helps her with the shopping and does odd jobs around the house.

She said: “He has been absolutely amazing – he’s given me my life.

“My quality of life has risen like that – we laugh, he makes me roar with laughter.”

Mrs Anderson, whose husband died in 2002 and who has rheumatoid arthritis, continues: “I desperately wanted to stay here [at home].

“I love my house – I intend to be carried out in my coffin from here.”

Meanwhile on the Isle of Wight, a social experiment is hoping to help the younger generations become part of the solution to the problems of elderly care.

The scheme, called Care4Care invites volunteers to look after old people.

For every hour’s care they put in, the volunteers build up an hour’s worth of care credit that they can keep in a time bank. They can then use it for their own care later in life.

What a wonderful initiative!

The project was created by Professor Heinz Woolf. He says: “I hope that over the next three years or so we will build it into quite a large national scheme. I hope there might be a million members.”

Nearly a quarter of the UK’s population is expected to be over 65 within 20 years.

Our government has so far not delivered an long-term solution as the austerity measures rack up more and more social care problems.

Elderly should feel confident of knowing they could be cared for should they require it. These initiatives demonstrate a good deal of creative thinking – shame our Cabinet doesn’t seem to have the same ability.


Written by debbielq

October 22, 2012 at 8:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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