Steve Williams is a director at Home Instead Senior Care
All blogs are the views of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Age.
We are currently experiencing unprecedented demographic change with a rapidly ageing population.
This should be cause for celebration - as the saying goes, “Do not regret growing older, it’s a privilege denied to many.” But instead, faced with reducing social care budgets and other pressures, we find ourselves wringing our hands, wondering how the nation is going to cope.
We know that the majority of older people wish to remain at home leading an independent life for as long as possible, and generally this is what their families want too. Apart from the fact that as a society we should be supporting people to live how they choose, enabling people to remain in their own homes makes financial sense. A little support at home can have significant preventative value and the cost of full-time care in facilities can be very expensive.
So, if we want to enable more elderly people to remain in their own home, where appropriate, then are we going to have to become a more caring, community-minded country, more determined to support our older citizens and family carers? I think we are and it’s absolutely right that we do.
But we are going to have to reconsider how to meet this need. At Home Instead we believe more genuine and active collaboration between private companies, community organisations, third sector groups and individuals can make a huge difference. In doing this we share expertise, pool resources and use complimentary skills all focused on making our society better for our older citizens. This is not an idealistic notion - we’ve already seen examples of this kind of collaboration and it can be transformational.
We are keen to do our bit to pioneer such partnerships. For example, last May we introduced free dementia skills workshops for family carers and members of the community. By mobilising our network and others in local communities, we delivered this programme to 5,000 people in a week! We are currently focusing on delivering fraud prevention education this spring.
We need to become a society in which the notion of care in our communities re-establishes itself as an integral part of our cultural identity. With the common purpose of treating our seniors with the dignity and respect they deserve, we can do so much more. What more do you think can be done?
What do you think needs to happen to make the UK the best country to grow older in?
What concerns you most about growing older and why?
Please leave us or the blogger a comment below.
Or send us your responses through our consultation response form.