New Kent Social Enterprise Aims to Revolutionise Elderly Care
With over 900,000 elderly people needing care and support but receiving nothing, a group of friends with ageing parents have decided to take matters into their own hands and shake up services for older people living in West Kent.
Today, those who are ageing and becoming frail tend to face two choices – move to a care home, often earlier than they would like, or stay in their own home but receive inadequate, poor quality support.
Frustrated by the lack of choices and joined-up information for their own parents, the group, who are all business professionals, decided to set up the social enterprise Independent Living Advisers (ILA).
According to Simon Newman, Managing Director of ILA: “Caring for the elderly just isn’t given the priority by our society that it frankly deserves. It’s incredibly frustrating and difficult to work out how to obtain the right support for your parents, and then can be a nightmare to put it in place.
“Residential care in Kent often costs £1,000 a week and isn’t what most of our parents want. We decided it was time to do something about it and change the face of support for independent living.”
Many healthcare professionals also believe that something has to be done. Kent-based Dr Sally Smith, who is passionate about safety and quality of care, also recognises the importance of supporting the elderly: “There’s a real need for high quality services which enable and support older people to live independently in their own homes.”
The new social enterprise has two elements: An At Home service designed for those who are frail or who recognise that things will get tougher and want to put arrangements in place to help support a happy, comfortable and full life, and reduce the risks of crisis. The second element is designed to be there when a crisis has struck, such as an accident or fall, and provides intensive support to help get the elderly person back home and recovering safely and with confidence.
Central to both care elements is a dedicated, local adviser who is an experienced healthcare professional – not a young, well-meaning, living wage carer. They work with the elderly person and their family to build an ongoing, trusted relationship, whereby they can expertly assess and provide support for all areas important to independent living, including physical, mental and emotional well-being as well as all the practical challenges.
ILA launches in West Kent and neighbouring parts of Sussex in July 2016 following a successful pilot.