Content last reviewed: October 2017
More people are living longer and, importantly, the demand for health and social care services for older people is set to increase. There are several key factors which are central to an effective response to this challenge which is both affordable and protects individual dignity, independence and choice.
There is a need to reduce the burden of disease and disability by increasing the promotion of health and wellbeing.
When health and wellbeing breaks down, there is a need to provide timely, treatment, care and support services in ways which are effective, personalised and empowering to the user, thereby maximising independence. It is also important to focus on those most in need to reduce inequalities in health.
There is a strong need to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of service provision through greater alignment and integration of care across agencies, developing new ways of working, avoiding duplication, cross sector training as well as clarity on quality standards. Furthermore, the emphasis of service provision needs to shift towards more local provision with a strengthening of intermediate and community based care. Primacy needs to be given to maintaining independence and choice for individuals supported by greater access to consistent information and advice. Developing capacity within the voluntary and community sector will be important.
The vital link between health and wellbeing and social and economic factors needs to be emphasised with income, housing, transport and social capital as central parts of the solution.
That older people stay healthy as long as possible is a key aim for the integration between health and social care. Some information on this is provided below and it is also covered in AGE UK’s recently published briefing report which states that, post EU referendum, now is a very good time to debate how we best care for our growing older population, and how we pay for it
However, this chapter focuses mainly on quality of life factors for older people. For those with long term conditions such as autism, learning disabilities, suffer from or are at risk of cardiovascular disease, have a physical and/or sensory disability, have or are at risk of developing dementia and those who are or will become carers, please see the relevant chapters under Vulnerable Groups.
Last updated Thursday, 2nd August 2018