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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2008): Care of the elderly - UK

Belonging in Britain: black older people's experiences of a sheltered housing scheme in London

A. Allwood

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 11, Aug. 2008, p. 32-40

The research upon which this article is based set out to explore the role of belonging, kinship and the state among elderly Wet Indian migrants. The elderly respondents lived in sheltered housing and so were dependent on the state in that it could be said to have assumed the role of surrogate family, performing the roles that kin traditionally played in maintaining their wellbeing. Nevertheless tensions and disappointments were found in the relationship that need further adjustments.

Beyond the NSF: continuing older people's involvement and engagement

M. Cornes and others

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 16, Oct. 2008, p. 22-29

In 2001 the government launched a 10-year plan called the National Service Framework for Older People (NSFOP) which set out to transform the way health and social care services are provided to this group. Using focus group discussions with members of the Greater Manchester Older People's Reference Group and telephone interviews with paid officers, this study gathered evidence on older people's participation in NSFOP Local Implementation Teams. Overall, feedback from Reference Group members is very positive. Members view themselves as 'genuine partners' rather than token representatives, and believe that their voices are used to good effect.

Care homes could face closure

N. Timmins & J. O'Doherty

Financial Times, Oct. 30th 2008, p. 4

Dr Chai Patel, a former health adviser to the government, has warned that the credit crunch could force care homes to close unless local councils pay higher fees or the government helps the sector find capital funding.

Copying letters to older people in mental health services: policy with unfulfilled potential

M. Clark and others

Quality in Ageing, vol. 9, Sept. 2008, p. 31-38

An initiative from the Department of Health to require letters between clinicians to be copied to patients has not been implemented as widely as was intended. There have been concerns about logistics and fears that patients might be confused or frightened by communications they are not equipped to understand. This paper reports on experience with copying letters to patients with dementia and their families . The process was warmly received by patients and carers, including families in a black and minority ethnic community, and few adverse comments were made. The routine implementation of this initiative will improve the quality of service experienced by older people, including those with dementia.

Don't stop me now: preparing for an ageing society

Audit Commission


This study draws on an analysis of 111 Audit Commission reports on councils' performance in developing a strategy for older people. Few English councils are creating an environment in which people can thrive as they grow older. Local authorities should avoid seeing older people as problems and the responsibility of social services departments alone. The report recommends that councils should age proof mainstream services but also target some services on people at risk to prevent disability and dependency.

Elderly people's perspectives on health and well-being in rural communities: findings from the evaluation of the National Service Framework for Older People

J. Manthorpe and others

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 16, 2008, p. 460-468

Addressing the needs of ageing populations in rural areas is recognised as a political and service delivery challenge. The National Service Framework for Older People (NSFOP) set out a series of service standards to raise quality, to redress variations in service use and to enhance the effectiveness of services across health and social care in England. It specifically alluded to the challenges of meeting such standards in rural areas. This paper reports findings from consultations with older people in rural areas held as part of the midpoint review of NSFOP in 2006. The costs and benefits of centralisation of services and the pivotal issue of transport emerged as important concerns.

Intermediate care: what are service users' experiences of rehabilitation?

J. Benten and N.J. Spalding

Quality in Ageing, vol. 9, Sept. 2008, p. 4-14

Intermediate care was introduced as a central element of government's programme for improving services to older people set out in the NHS Plan of 2000 and the National Service Framework for Older People. This article is based on a study of eight service users who had moved from a hospital ward to an intermediate care unit before returning home. It focuses on one of the six themes that emerged from the study: service users' rehabilitation experiences. Results showed that users lacked understanding and awareness of the potential of the intermediate care service. They did not feel involved in their assessment and goal setting, and so were unable to make individual contributions regarding their own rehabilitation needs. Subsequent interventions were therefore not linked to their needs and transfer home experiences were variable.

Meeting the sheltered and extra care housing needs of black and minority ethnic older people

A. Jones

Housing, Care and Support, vol.11, Aug. 2008, p. 41-48

There are increasing numbers of black and minority ethnic elders whose needs must be addressed by UK service providers. Much of the emphasis to date on meeting the housing needs of this group has lain in the provision of sheltered accommodation targeted on particular minorities. There has been a comparative lack of provision of ethnic specific extra care housing. Given current policy emphasis on community cohesion and antipathy to solutions that are viewed as meeting the needs of only one group, consideration should be given to how best to meet ethnic specific needs in a mixed environment.

Mental health of older people: taking a long view

J. Manthorpe and S. Iliffe

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 16, Oct. 2008, p. 4-12

This article sets out some of the key challenges facing commissioners of mental health services for older people, and uses recommendations from a recent inquiry to outline possible commissioning objectives.

Not dead yet: a manifesto for old age

J. Neuberger

London: HarperCollins, 2008

Britain is getting old. Due to the combination of a decline in birth rates and an increase in life expectancy we are rapidly heading towards a crisis -- in health, housing, finance and long-term care. Despite this seismic shift in our demographic makeup, the way we view and treat the old has barely adjusted. The book suggests ways of making life better for older people. It is time that we examined how we look after ourselves as we age -- and address the issues that when young we take for granted as a right, not a privilege. The book asks the questions:

  1. Why is housing not being built so that the less mobile amongst us can continue to look after ourselves for longer?
  2. Why when we have so much experience and no less intelligence are we not able to find work which benefits everyone?
  3. What are we supposed to do for fun?
  4. Why is our approach to care so poor?

Telecare service report for Herefordshire

D. Rainbow

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 2, Sept. 2008, p. 53-56

A telecare project was established in Herefordshire in response to the UK government's strategy of empowering older people to live independently in their own homes for longer. Over 600 people have received a service, the majority of them having a Lifeline and a number of sensors linked to a remote alarm monitoring centre. The service has proved popular with users and carers who report significant reductions in anxiety and levels of concern in a number of areas. The service has also reduced the need for homecare, residential and nursing home placements.

This is a job for social care

M. Hunter

Community Care, Sept. 18th 2008, p. 30-31

Age Concern has revealed that two million people over 65 in England are suffering from depression, but only about 15% receive any treatment. This is due in part to the organisational division in the NHS between mental health services for adults of working age and those for retired people. Many services such as crisis resolution and assertive outreach are not available to those over 65. The situation is made worse by the systematic retreat of social care from mental health support, which is seen as an NHS responsibility.

What role for housing in health and social care provision?

S. Adams

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 16, Oct. 2008, p. 30-36

Older people are the main consumers of health and social care services. They are also the group most likely to live in poor quality accommodation. Government health and social care policy is focused on enabling more older people to remain living independently in their own homes. This article considers how greater recognition of the negative impacts of poor quality housing on older people's health and well-being, combined with targeted housing repair and adaptation assistance, could enable them to live independently in mainstream housing and promote better management of chronic health conditions.

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