Improving services for older people

Release Date: 22-Jul-2009
An improved housing support service for older people is being launched this month. For the past year, tenants’ representatives have worked with staff from Kirklees Council and Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) to develop a new model for older people’s support services in Kirklees.

The review was prompted by the need to look at how services could help the Council meet its vision to help older people live in their own homes for longer by providing a better choice of preventative support services and meeting the demand of the ageing population.

Under the new scheme, two levels of support are now available, depending on people’s needs.

The first level is for tenants of the council’s sheltered housing schemes, which now all have resident scheme coordinators who manage the building and are responsible for ensuring security and health and safety. Tenants now pay a weekly charge of £4.50 towards the cost of this much-valued service.

The second, more personalised level of support is available to sheltered housing tenants and anyone else in Kirklees over the age of 55. This level of support costs £18.38 a week and includes:
• advice on staying healthy and safe at home
• help to settle into a new home or community
• help to get in touch with other agencies that can provide support, for example home care services
• advice on managing debt or household bills
• encouragement to get involved in social activities

One of the most successful areas of work is making sure that older people get all the benefits they are entitled to – a recent pilot scheme in Heckmondwike resulted in them getting an extra £372,000 a year.

The manager of the support service, Carol Crossley, said: “Our tenants are very passionate about the needs of older people and they have dedicated a lot of their own time to make sure that the new service meets those needs. I’d like to publicly thank them for working so hard to make sure we’ve now got such a good support service.

“A major concern was to keep live-in scheme coordinators and I’m very happy that funding has been made available to do this, despite the national trend not to use resident wardens.”

Dorothy Arrowsuch, one of the older people’s champions involved in reviewing the service, said: “People are really happy with the new service and I am proud to have been involved.

“The new service provides a lot more support for tenants in sheltered housing whilst still allowing staff to provide higher levels of support for those who need it in the wider community.”

Cllr Andrew Marchington, Joint Cabinet Lead for Kirklees Council Strategic Housing said, “This new service will help to improve the quality of life of older people. It will support independence, quality and choice.

“The service is personalised around each person’s needs and will enable more people to get the support they need, irrespective of where they choose to live.”

Cllr Shabir Pandor, Joint Cabinet Lead for Kirklees Council Adult Services said,
“It’s encouraging to hear that new service improvements are making a postive difference to older people in the community.

“Housing support enables people to maintain and sustain a home in the community whilst retaining independence and choice in their lives, and reducing the need for crisis intervention.”

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