Concern over elderly in new survey

SUFFOLK'S senior citizens in are among the two thirds of Britain's population who only get local authority support if their needs are very great, a new survey said today.

SUFFOLK'S senior citizens in are among the two thirds of Britain's population who only get local authority support if their needs are very great, a new survey said today.

National pressure group Counsel + Care supports older people, their families and carers. It has found that across the country most authorities will only provide care for old people whose needs are assessed as substantial or critical.

That means thousands of people across the county whose quality of life would be improved by support from council workers are being denied help.

And across the country there are significant differences in the cost and standard of care offered.


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Counsel + Care is calling for more money to be spent on caring for elderly people, especially on preventative services to enable more to remain living independent lives in their own homes.

It also wants to make the system of delivering care made more simple so the clients themselves, their families and carers can understand easier what is happening.

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Stephen Burke, Chief Executive of Counsel and Care said: “This survey highlights just how much tension there is in the social care system - and how this directly affects older people.

“The contradiction in care is that while older people are paying higher charges, fewer are getting services. Pressure on budgets means that fewer older people are eligible to receive support, leaving many struggling to meet what may be low level needs, but which can have a great impact on their quality of life.”

Suffolk County Council said it was currently helping about 10,100 older people to remain living in their own homes by providing help and support.

And while it only provides full help for those who meet the highest criteria, it does contribute to the costs towards helping other people receiving help from other organisations such as Age Concern Suffolk.

And it provides them with advice on how to get help for basic tasks such as shopping, gardening, and cleaning.

County adult care spokesman Graham Newman said: “Here in Suffolk we are better than most in what we are able to offer older people who need help in keeping active and independent.

“We are rated three star (out of three) by government inspectors, partly for the number of older people we support, and for the quality of services we offer.

“As in most of England, we are facing a growing gap between the money we have and what we need to help the growing numbers of older people needing support.

“So we can only offer intensive services, like home carers, to people with severe needs.”

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