Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Informal care and older people: time for a campaign? News of the year? The importance of neighbourly informal support for older people has been recognised in the Department of Health. From yesterday's press release: With many older people living alone and more than 180,000 saying they have gone for a whole week without speaking to friends, family or neighbours, Care Service Minister Phil Hope is asking the public to make a New Year’s resolution to visit older neighbours more often. Social interaction can protect older people’s mental health, helping to do their shopping will prevent falls and injury and keeping an eye on their health will stop them developing serious health problems and ending up in hospital. What are the chances of this recognition being turned into some kind of strategic initiative, exploring ways of both stimulating and measuring levels of informal support (without booby award schemes for innovation, please) and promoting interdependence? A year ago we had the results of some work on meaningful interaction (admittedly it all went quiet from the moment of publication). But against that, I have not forgotten that older people were short-changed in the report of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion. Would a change of government help? Will the recession cause people to revert to a more localised way of life? At the risk of seeming naively bubbly at the start of a new year, would anyone care to join me in working out what is needed under the broad heading of a campaign? Previously: Copenhagen for the ageing crisis

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