Welsh Housing Report 4

“Older people at Home in Wales”

This is the fourth of my series of comments on the report entitled “Our Housing Agenda:  Meeting the Aspirations of Older People in Wales”.  (You can see my earlier posts by clicking Welsh Housing in the TAG CLOUD).

As I’ve said in my earlier blogs, this is a very ambitious report with a lot of very good ideas.  If they could all be followed up at a significant scale they would certainly have the power to transform the lives of many older people in later life.

  • There are 37 separate threads requiring action which are identified in the report. Not all of these are new ideas, but each one has merit.  They can also be inter-related and have greater potential power in combination, for instance, new housing should be a hub for wider community interaction and a base for outreach work into the community.  However, it is not realistically possible to pursue all these avenues with the same vigour.  The report acknowledges this by proposing that the actions are defined as either short term or medium term.
  • The “lead” for most threads is seen as the Welsh Government and whilst it is true that they have to create a platform for new initiatives, it is more likely that innovative projects will be conceived from more entrepreneurial sources. The private sector, voluntary organisations and the charity sector are more familiar with incubating and developing new innovations.
  • The overall vision of the report could lead to a substantial transformation of Older People’s housing and related services.   Such change is probably best addressed in small steps, so that a programme of “proving projects” would be a good place to start.
  • I would suggest this is best done with a three-pronged approach:-
    • Firstly, Government, Local Authorities and Health Authorities should create a platform for innovation.   They need to seed-fund the start-up of pilot projects and then clear barriers out of the way.   The point of using pilot projects initially is that they don’t challenge the status quo too much and they allow for the fact that not all projects will be successful.
    • Secondly, market research techniques should be used to determine the level of demand for services in local areas and in turn this should provide a database for potential innovation projects.   This could be done based around the issues identified in the report using focus group discussions and wider surveys in potential pilot areas.    Thereafter older people should participate in every stage of a project’s development and management.
    • Thirdly, there should be independent monitoring and evaluation to determine in what way and how many older people have benefitted from the projects.   The key performance criteria for the projects should be agreed at the outset with the sponsoring bodies.

Fulfilling the ambition of the report, would require a different and innovative style of approach.   It would be necessary to harness and test the most innovative ideas, by directly involving older people; linking them to the most positive talents and skills in National and Local Government, the Health Service and the Private and Voluntary Sectors.   Their work would need supporting with public and charitable funds and the results of their efforts would need to be validated by independent research.

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4 Responses to Welsh Housing Report 4

  1. davidwfreeman237 says:

    I am not sure, how one proceeds from research, and statistics for the elderly, and the emotion involvement one is involved in when the older person is a close family member.
    AS a family elder I have no one solution! What I do have is experience of my widowed mother and the problems I faced with my siblings, and what we/I wished would be solved by us as a family, and society in particular through the care industry advice and help being provided by the state/local council, and private care providers.
    The problems that gave us( the siblings ) greatest concerns were based on behavioural problems displayed by by our mother.
    All the problems caused us personal heartache, and a great deal of emotional upset.
    The first minor problem was the lack of attention, by my mother, when involved in conversations within, and outside the family group, and constant apologies from mum, when we tried to correct her to the true facts of the occasion, or relevant persons involved: the development into what one in a younger person would call a temper tantrum, when corrected.
    The second phase was the constant questioning by Mum, as to her financial affairs and the apparent lack/loss of her personal controls of her ”monies” [not fundamental costs- but daily expenditure for shopping/bus fares, and other trivial expenditure.]
    These initial problems were discussed, and Mum was adamant with the following procedures;
    1 No daily help, or companionship- they were regarded as strangers, even though mum would go to the local supermarket store cafe during the day, to be in known, and familiar surroundings, staying there for a great part of the day.
    2 Night time my mum was paranoid and would check no none was in her house/home,before locking the external doors! Mum would not accept a personal night time companion.
    3 Mum believed anyone in the house was thieving/pilfering, and trying to restrict her movements, and personal freedoms, both physically, financially and mentally.
    Eureka one may say,and apply and invoke a ‘power of attorney’ : Alas this is a one solution to the financial affairs, of a loved one, but not an end to the emotional ones?
    What are we trying to solve as a society? it all takes time and knowledge and monies!
    There are various persons/families in this UKplc. countries of ours.and various levels of personal; monitory investments from zero to many thousands of pounds, and coupled to this is the emotional behaviours of the elderly person, all of which for various reasons cause emotional, and emotive reactions, from the elderly person, and the friends and family members involved in the care of that elderly person?
    For a general solution[s] i ask the following:
    Should the state insist as part of the state pension package, that everyone must nominate a power of attorney
    Should those with in the description of independent living, be confined or recommended for a warden controlled care housing scheme?
    Should all persons in independent living who develop dementia or Alzheimer’s be recommended for domiciliary care in a community of the elderly? with state support?
    These are slightly controversial view points and I wonder if they may help define, and segregate the emotional problems, from the hard headed decisions, one has to undertake as an older citizen, either for ones family, or friends who may seek help with the ravages of old age living in the UK.
    A further complication is trying to untangle the NHS health care budget, from the Social Services Budget.linked under the Dept Of Health and Social Security? the solution is???

  2. davidwfreeman237 says:

    Rereading my above piece, I appear a to be a gormless ‘Prig’, and one may say one looks after ones own, for the younger genration, and children I agree: The older generation, can and do become very demanding of personal time, and what I would term companionship? As I age I realise the last, very last few months on this earth, or years I may be a burden, and I believe as a responsible person I must seek advice and the means to live maybe not as an independent person: But independently of my children and family.? This requires some careful thought, as I do not wish to feel guilt, or imply ‘guilt’ on my family and friends.

  3. davidwfreeman237 says:

    To the occasional reader, it may appear, I wish to express my opinions with disregard for John comments? This is not true, I find John’s comments very deep and thought provoking, and as I am lacking in to insights as to how the care industry (Care/housing for the elderly) function, I find it more comfortable to reflect on how i or and my family have come to feel in resolving issues and problems with old age!
    Government policy appears to have a built in ”lag factor” as it is spending our monies to resolve social problems which affect the general population, and not the chosen few? Again I may have ‘rose tinted spectacles ‘; but i hope not!, I am a concerned British citizen and voter.

    • john graham says:

      Thank you David for all three of these comments they draw out so many of the issues in later life that families have to face. That is what makes you the “expert”, precisely because you have the wisdom of experience.
      The ebb and flow of emotions and the changing nature of family relationships is exactly why it is essential to involve older people in the policies and opportunities that are developed for them. There are several phases in growing old and people reach them at different ages. Because of a natural desire to remain independent, many people are slow to adapt to changes in their physical and mental health and are reluctant to accept accept help.

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