Age NI and the DHSSPS held two successful joint discussion events to facilitate the voice of older people in the consultation on Who Cares? The Future of Adult Care and Support in Northern Ireland.
Over 240 people participated in these two important events; the small group discussions were led by Age NI’s Peer Facilitators and note-takers at each table captured all comments which will be submitted to the consultation.
Over 92% of attendees rated the event excellent or very good. There were many positive comments including this one from an attendee at the Lisburn event: “Participation at the tables was open and everyone had an input, it was important to be heard, to be respected, and valued as an older person. A big thank you to Age NI for giving us this opportunity to be able to voice our opinions”.
The discussions were wide-ranging and offered important insights into the issues older people face with regard to social care. Participants were asked to discuss a vision of social care for the future, including the appropriate balance of responsibility in terms of funding the service.
In reviewing the comments from the discussions, there were several key themes that were apparent at both events.
Click below to see a summary of key comments on each of these key themes:
Providing ‘that little bit of help’ when it is first needed can help keep people out of acute care or nursing/residential care; all levels of assessed need should be funded.
Read Prevention comments
Social care should enable people to remain in their own homes, connected to their families and communities and have a good quality of life.
Read Promoting Independence comments
Care must be tailored to need and individualized; it should not be just choosing from a list of services that are available.
Read Enabling Choice comments
The system should not make the assumption that people have family to care for them. Carers must be adequately recognized with appropriate respite provision, and carers allowance should continue to be paid after pension age.
Read Carers comments
Quality standards must be guaranteed for all regardless of where care is provided; appropriate safeguards must be in place and robustly upheld for vulnerable people whether they are in nursing/residential care or receive care in their home.
Read Quality of Care comments
The current system is cumbersome, complicated and difficult to manage. Easy to understand information about options should be available from a central ‘hub’ which has up-to-date information about both statutory and voluntary services in an area.
Read Accessing and Navigating the System comments
Read Combatting Isolation comments
Community/Voluntary organizations provide many excellent services which form a vital part of prevention, but their funding is precarious at best. Core funding and funding for longer-term periods should be provided to continue these programmes.
Read Importance of Community and Voluntary Organizations comments
Care worker must become a valued job with better pay, training and respect. Care workers must be given enough time to care – 15 minutes is not enough – and the flexibility to do what the client needs.
Read Domiciliary Care Staff, Time and Tasks comments
Social Care cannot operate in isolation. Transport is an important contributor to remaining independent; but in rural areas especially the current poor provision can be a barrier to keeping people connected. Many older people have a constant concern about money and really do have to choose to ‘heat or eat’. Cold can be a factor in ill health and there should be an improved fuel poverty strategy targeted at the most vulnerable.
Read Related Issues of Transport and Fuel Poverty comments
There was a lot of discussion on a variety of funding options, but no agreement on how to fund social care in the future. People did, however, feel strongly that no one should have to sell their home to fund care.
Read Balance of Responsibility (Funding) comments
View event photos
Summary of the Lisburn event (PDF 286KB)
Summary of the Omagh event (PDF 160KB)
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