It is this approach which is taken by FirstStop Advice. FirstStop provides free and independent advice for older people about housing and care options in later life via the web, via a free telephone advice line and through a network of local partners.
Regular feedback from users of FirstStop local partners’ services demonstrates the extent to which these services have been successfully able to deliver on what older people want and meeting the aspirations identified in Age UK’s evidence.
Responses from over 700 users of local partners’ case work services between October 2013 and April 2015 showed that 99% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘the advice focused on me and on my needs’. 95% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘I feel more confident about making the right decision(s) about my housing and care options’.
“I didn’t have a clue where to start but [the adviser] was very helpful and professional. She made me feel very comfortable and gave me the confidence and guidance I needed to proceed….. I feel very positive about the future.”
Moreover, in the ‘friends and family’ test, 99% of respondents said they would recommend the service to other older people, as reflected in an independent evaluation of local partners’ services.
These findings were reflected in a smaller follow-up survey conducted in 2014 which identified the longer term impact of the advice and support provided by FirstStop local partners. Five months after their contact with the local service had finished, 7 out of 10 respondents confirmed that they felt ‘more independent and better able to cope’. Moreover almost 9 out of 10 (88%) stated they had a better sense of wellbeing, demonstrating the relevance of such services to delivering one of the key principles of the Care Act 2014.
It is this approach to the provision of person-centred and impartial advice which enables people to take control and make the right decisions for themselves, a key element of enabling people to continue to live safely and well at home.
For further information about FirstStop’s Local Partnerships Programme contact Dave Eldridge, Local Partnerships Programme Manager
Telephone: 020 3519 6038