Blog | Angela Gifford

Caring for Older People in the Coming Decades

The UK Minister for Care has said that with an ever increasing number of older people requiring care in the next decades and beyond, families and volunteers will be needed and should be encouraged to help care.

Family care is given by people in the main whose sole experience is that they have brought up a family, cared for a family member or friend and have learnt as they have gone along their care path.

When special skills were needed these have been taught by the local surgery or by another professional that has been accessed by the same surgery. Very little certification changes hands!

Having been in the UK care sector for over thirty years I have seen these, usually mature, male and female carers rejected as suitable to care for a person unknown to them. In other words they were and are considered good enough to care for their family and friends but not other people.

Take a look at Google and look for training companies who will train 'carers', look for the courses available, there are hundreds and whilst I am not advocating that untrained carers should look after people with high dependency care needs, does a mature person really need to be inducted and 'trained' for low level, mainly domestic, preventative care?

What happens when a person begins to become physically frail through old age? The first sign is often that the domestic work around the home gets neglected. The fridge has old food, beds are not changed, preparing meals becomes a chore, hygiene may become neglected, etc. The older person becomes anxious, tries to hide their problems, becomes physically less able, may fall and the path can lead to a crisis situation. The loneliness factor if present makes the situation worse.

Low level care, which has almost become obsolete in the UK, could be re-introduced. This type of care is preventative care and could be carried out by kind, sensible people, capable people who would be trusted to care for their own family. The statutory requirements which are already in place for criminal record checks and other safeguarding specifications could be maintained.

New care agencies should be encouraged to come to the market to provide low, level care services. The work would encourage older 'informal' carers to return to work and the age group alone of such care workers would be welcomed by the older people they would be caring for.

People who need low level care and where this need is fulfilled will:

  • Save the UK Exchequer money

  • The amount of funding given to Councils for the provision of care can be spread wider helping more people retain their independence.

  • Fewer older people will be admitted into acute hospital beds.

  • Older people and their families will be happier.

The UK did have such a care system in the last century; it was The Home Help System and was provided by County Councils who employed their 'Home Helps'.

By:  Angela E Gifford
Posted:  18 Jul 2014

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