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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2010): Care of the elderly - UK

Ageing in urban neighbourhoods: place attachment and social exclusion

A. Smith

Bristol: Policy Press, 2009

Many western nations have experienced a rise in the number of marginalised and deprived inner-city neighbourhoods. Little is known about why some older people desire to age in place despite multiple risks in their neighbourhood and why others reject ageing in place. Given the growth in both the ageing of the population and policy interest in the cohesion and sustainability of neighbourhoods there is an urgent need to better understand the experience of ageing in marginalised locations. This book aims to address the shortfall in knowledge regarding older people's attachment to deprived neighbourhood and in so doing progress what critics have referred to as the languishing state of environmental gerontology. The author examines new cross-national research with older people in deprived urban neighbourhoods and suggests a rethinking and refocusing of the older person's relationship with place. Impact on policy and future research are also discussed.

Brown will not rule out death tax to fund care of elderly

R. Prince

Daily Telegraph, Feb.11th 2010, p.1

The Conservatives are repeatedly claiming that funding for Labour's proposed National Care Service for the elderly will have to be found through a flat rate inheritance levy or death tax. This could amount to as much as 25% of an elderly person's estate. Gordon Brown has refused to rule out this approach.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Feb. 10th 2010, p. 2; Daily Telegraph, Feb. 19th 2010, p. 1 +2; Daily, Telegraph Feb. 17th, p. 2)

Can equity release help older home owners improve their quality of life?

R. Terry and R. Gibson

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2010

About a million elderly people own homes worth at least 100,000, but their incomes are so low that they qualify for means-tested benefits. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, in partnership with local authorities, charities and the financial services sector, is working to promote equity release to this group. It has launched pilots to run until Summer 2011 in the London Boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Islington and in Maidstone, Kent to test a home cash plan provided by financial services company Just Retirement.


Charities demand an end to political point-scoring as care crisis looms

S. Lister and R. Watson

The Times, Feb. 15th 2010, p. 13

Research by the London School of Economics (LSE) shows that the pressure on families to look after their relatives will reach breaking point by 2017, when the demands of the growing elderly population will outstrip society's current capacity for care provision.

Council cuts services to give elderly free care

D. Brindle

The Guardian, Feb. 19th 2010, p. 12

Isle of Wight Council, which pioneered free personal care for the over-80s, is proposing to cut services to other vulnerable groups (such as disabled people and victims of domestic violence) in order to meet the cost of continuing free homecare, and other social care services.

Early intervention prevents crises

J. Dunning

Community Care, Feb. 4th 2010, p. 26-27

Saving public funds while keeping older people at home and independent is a major ambition for the NHS and local government. Evidence has emerged that councils and primary care trusts can achieve both goals through investment in prevention and early intervention. This article includes case studies of schemes in Bradford and Tameside.

Elderly will get help to stay home after time in hospital

A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 9th 2010, p. 11

Gordon Brown has announced that, as part of the National Care Service, older people will have access to up to six weeks of intensive rehabilitation after discharge from hospital. The Conservatives have questioned how the scheme can be funded given the current crisis in the public finances.

'Force children to care for elderly'

C. Hope

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 2nd 2010, p. 1 + 9

Baroness Deech, Chair of the Bar Standards Board, has argued that grandparents are increasingly being asked to provide free childcare for grandchildren. In return for the free care that parents and grandparents give, children and grandchildren should be required to look after them in their old age in a return to the principles of the Elizabethan Poor Law.

Hard times ahead for grey expectations

B. Ferguson

Caring Times, Feb. 2010, p. 28-29

The quality of the physical environment is a key element of a care home setting; it enhances privacy, dignity and general well being. The author argues that new minimum standards issued by the Care Quality Commission have set the bar too low in this respect, so that old-fashioned and barely adequate care homes will remain in business.

Improving dementia services in England: an interim report

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2009/10; HC 82)

The National Dementia Strategy (the Strategy), Living Well with Dementia, was published in February 2009. This report assesses the Department of Health's response to the Committee of Public Accounts 2008 report and the robustness of its Strategy and Implementation Plan, and evaluates the machinery in place to implement the Strategy, including the levers for change. The National Dementia Strategy is ambitious and comprehensive, setting out a vision in which people with dementia and their carers are enabled to live as well as possible. It focuses on outcomes: public and professionals' awareness of dementia; earlier specialist diagnosis and intervention through Memory Services; and higher quality health and social care for people with dementia. However, the Department has not yet matched this commitment with a robust approach to implementation, which aligns leadership, funding, incentives and information. The report recommends:

  • The Department should evaluate and promulgate examples of good practice in achieving cost-effective improvements in delivery of dementia services
  • Every acute hospital and other providers of care should have a lead person with responsibility for improving dementia care.
  • The Department should, by 30 April 2010, provide an open online database of local performance information by publishing the agreed dementia metrics on the Dementia Portal, and allowing localities to upload their data, benchmark their performance and provide accountability to the public and partners.

Now it's to be self-help the aged

B. Ferguson

Caring Times, Jan. 2010, p. 8

This article attacks the government's refusal to consider funding social care for older people out of general taxation. This will lead to the provision of basic, low-grade care out of public funds, with families and individuals expected to make up the shortfall out of their own pockets.

Putting the dementia strategy to work

V. Pitt

Community Care, Feb. 11th 2010, p. 28-29

The national dementia strategy was launched in February 2009, but an investigation by the National Audit Office has found that progress with implementation is slow. This article reports on how Croydon Council and Primary Care Trust are implementing the strategy on the basis of interviews with professionals and carers.

Under pressure: tackling the financial challenge for councils of an ageing population

Audit Commission


The Commission inspected the medium-term financial plans of 112 councils to see how well they were preparing for the impact of population ageing. Just over half of the financial plans included any reference to demographic change. Only one in ten attempted any estimate of the financial impact of the ageing population. Those councils which had made financial plans for ageing focused on social services and transport, ignoring issues such as housing and leisure. The Commission concludes that more preventative and early intervention activity is needed if councils are to tackle the financial implications of an ageing population for local public services.

Your guide to: meeting new care standards

V. Pitt

Community Care, Jan. 28th 2010, p.26-27.

The Care Quality Commission has issued new guidance to replace the National Minimum Standards for residential, domiciliary and nursing care providers. Adult care providers must register with the Commission under the new system by October 2010. The guidance covers 28 separate outcomes in six key areas: user involvement and information, personalised care, safeguarding, staff suitability, quality and management, and management suitability.

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