Long term care

Older People's Vision for Long Term Care

The Independent Living Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation commissioned the Older People’s Programme (OPP), now incorporated into the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi), in partnership with the Centre for Policy on Ageing to explore older people’s experiences of living with high support needs, focusing on those moving to and living in care homes now, and using other kinds of supported accommodation or living arrangements (e.g. extra care and adult placement schemes). The aim of the work was to identify the critical elements of independent living for older people with high support needs.

Older people with significant support needs constitute a large and growing sector of the population; yet they have often been left out of innovative service and practice developments. Recent initiatives around independent living support that enables individuals to have choice and control in their lives have been slow to engage with and respond to the varied needs of older people. For example residential care is too often still the norm or regarded as the only feasible option for older people, especially those aged over 85 years and/or those with high support needs. Person centred planning has been shown to be an effective approach with older people but is happening only for small numbers of individuals in a few forward thinking localities.

The key challenge is to distil the essential features of independent living for older people – both for those who are at the threshold of needing some kind of continuous and intensive support and for those living in supported accommodation including residential and nursing homes. This encompasses the following issues for older people:

  • Exercising choice and control
  • Options and opportunities about where you live and who you live with
  • Person centeredness and what this means in practice
  • Independence, independent living, prevention - and what these mean for older people with high support needs and/or degenerative conditions
  • Providing and commissioning different kinds of support – service and ‘non-service’ based solutions/support

The project comprised a scoping study to gather information about the current range of approaches, options and opportunities; in-depth fieldwork in four localities to explore innovative practice with a range of stakeholders; and a sounding board event.

A report bringing together key messages and action for change was published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in November 2009.

Access the JRF website to download the summary 'Finding out what determines a "good life" for older people in care homes' and the full report 'Older people's vision for long term care' by Helen Bowers et al.

Read a CPA Briefing on older people's vision for long term care.



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