Council Plans to Help the Elderly

Edinburgh council are today renewing calls for the public to get involved in shaping the care of elderly as recent figures suggest Edinburgh’s population of over  65 ’is set to increase by 21% by 2016.

MP's assisting elderly

MP’s assisting elderly

A total of almost £217 million will be spent between 2012 and 2013 on services for the elderly as part of the Council’s Joint Commissioning plan for older people.

Members of the public are invited to make their views known by completing a questionnaire.

The council say their vision is “to make older people feel safe and feel equal” and to ensure that they can be as independent as possible for as long as possible.

The Council intend to build on support for unpaid carers, to focus on preventative care, support self-management and work with communities to reduce social isolation.

The largest part of the council’s proposed budget – roughly £119 million – will be spent on people receiving intensive care and support in hospitals or care homes. Another £54 million will be spent on helping aged people who need home assistance.

The plan, once approved, will be monitored by the Checkpoint Group and a multi-agency Older People’s Management Group, which include representatives from the NHS, the council and various voluntary and private sector institutions.

Concerns over standard of home care for the elderly

The UK’s home care service has been described as “shocking and disgraceful” by a consumer group today. 
Many elderly people have been left with food out of reach, in soiled beds and without their medication, a care association has said.
The UK Home Care Association said it was never acceptable for people to experience rushed or inadequate care.

Better care for the elderly: The UK Home Care Association reveal shocking conditions in care homes. Image: Nick Fraser/ CC license

[Read more…]

Service to help elderly claim tax and benfits

By Patricia Pereira

The Scottish Government is about to spend £700.000 on an advice service for the elderly who live in the most impoverished areas of Clackmannanshire, West Lothian and North Lanarkshire.

The new Older People’s Advice Service (OPAS) could benefit up to 22,000 people and will be especially focused on those above 60 years old, with health problems, homebound or living in remote areas.

The main objectives of this initiative is to fight against poverty and financial exclusion by improving take-up of older people’s benefits.

Alex Neil, the minister for housing and communities, said: “It is important in the current economic climate that people claim the benefits and tax credits to which they are entitled. These are challenging economic times for communities across Scotland and older people can frequently feel stressed and isolated.

Older people are one of the most vulnerable groups in relation to low take up rates, and often need the most support in taking the steps to receiving benefits and tax credits.”

The service will be run by Linkwide, a charitable subsidiary company within the Link Group a Scottish-based housing association which owns more than 8,000 residential properties in 22 of Scotland’s local authority areas.

Link Group had already delivered a similar service in other areas across Scotland called the Older Persons Advice Project (OPAP), raising more than £2 million in unclaimed benefit income since it was first launched in 2005.

Craig Sanderson, the Link Group Chief Executive, said: “The success of OPAP clearly demonstrates the need for tailored money and welfare advice services for the over 60s. We are pleased to have received the support of the Scottish Government to enable us to work with those most in need in the three pilot areas.”

Advice for the Elderly

By Gemma Shaw

old_lady_phone150

Photo courtesy of BBC Gloucestershire

The Scottish Government has announced a new service to help elderly people receive advice on claiming the benefits that they are entitled to, through face-to-face visits.

According to the Scottish Government, the Older People’s Advice Service, concentrating on less mobile pensioners in deprived areas, ‘could benefit up to 22,000 people’. The scheme is targeting poverty-stricken areas in Clackmannanshire, West Lothian and North Lanarkshire, and is aiming to help the ill, immobile, and those living in remote areas.

Backed with £700,000 of Scottish government money, a repeat of the successes of the scheme’s predecessor, the Older Persons Advice Project, is expected. OPAP increased benefits received by the elderly by over £2 million.

The OPAS service, based on home visits, has been designed for those who do not have internet access and do not like to discuss their financial details over the telephone, but may pose further problems. A recent episode of Tonight With Trevor McDonald highlighted the risk of theft which elderly people are exposed to when they allow civil servants into their homes.

This could brand OPAS ineffective, due to the increased wariness of strangers encouraged in pensioners.

Patients experience problems with Hospedia

By Amy Anderson

Hospital pay-per-view television set

Hospital pay-per-view television set

Patients at The Royal Infirmary Hospital in Edinburgh are being left unable to use their pay-per-view television sets because staff are not trained in using the technology and Hospedia representatives are only available to come and help them during the day.

Hospidia (formerly known as Patientline) is used in hospitals all over the country and aims to make ‘people’s stay in hospital easier by proving some of the entertainment and communication choices they enjoy at home’. However, patients and relatives have recently been left angered after purchasing television cards only to find themselves experiencing problems and being unable to get proper help during the night.

Whilst the organisation does provide a 24-hour help-line,  call-outs are only available at limited times during the day. One woman, whose Mother is currently a patient at the hospital is angry that she is paying money for a service that her relative is only sometimes able to use: ‘It’s disgusting that no-one could come and sort out my Mum’s TV during the evening – the helpline offers very confusing advice and all my Mum wanted was for someone to come and fix her TV. I have been paying out a lot of money between the parking and television fees and the least I would expect in return for these ridiculous expenses is for help to be readily available for sick elderly people’.

A representative from Hospedia stated that he was aware of the problem but said that ‘the majority of calls are dealt with by the 24-hour helpline’ and, as a result, there are ‘no current plans to have people available for bed call-outs’. However, he also stated that Hospedia would not rule this out in the future if problems continue to persist.

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