What is Social Care?
Social care is any service designed to help people with support needs to live well. This could be someone coming into your home to help with tasks like washing, dressing, getting in and out of bed and going to the toilet, right up to 24/7 support in a care home.
Care services should protect people who are vulnerable, enable a decent quality of life, support independence and encourage people to remain active.
Age UK nationally has been campaigning for Government to look at care for older people and make changes. Recent changes to local authority budgets have had a huge impact on the care system, and we are now witnessing the devastating effect of this ever growing funding gap. In real terms, spending on social care has fallen by around £770 million since 2010.
There have been some steps in the right direction – the Care Bill, a cap on care costs, and proposals to prevent and tackle abuse and neglect in health and care settings. However there is still much work to be done.
Age UK across the nation wants a care system where people can access the care they need and in 2012 together we identified seven building blocks needed to make the social care system work for older people.
These seven building blocks were:
1. Paying for care in a fair and transparent way.
2. Having access to care and support with no chance of being left without it.
3. Receiving high quality care and support.
4. Receiving dignified care and support in order to live safely and with self-respect.
5. Ensuring carers are supported so that family or friends providing care are not expected to sacrifice health, career or financial security.
6. Having a simple, easy to understand system in place.
7. Being able to plan in advance before needing care.
The above steps have gone some way to help the situation but more needs to be done in the future to protect older people and their health and social care. The Care Bill that has been a potential landmark piece of legislation will be jeopardised unless it is matched with sustainable funding so that older and disabled people whoneed care can get it.
Age UKs across the country are continuing to bring the issues to the attention of both local MPs and the Government.
For more information on this campaign you can visit the website www.ageuk.org.uk/careincrisis where you will find updates, be able to join the campaign, and find the latest report from Age UK.