More Older People To Be Given Choice To Live At Home

More older people are to be helped to live independently in their own homes for longer, thanks to a £18.5m government project.

Coming just weeks after the launch of the Our Health, Our Care, Our say White Paper, which pledged to give people more choice with their services, these Partnerships for Older People (POPP) projects will help shift funding away from institutional and hospital-based crisis care towards earlier, targeted interventions, giving more older people the choice to live at home for longer.

Speaking at a listening event with older people in Leeds, Care Services Minister Liam Byrne, said: “After a lifetime of contribution to their community older people deserve the absolute best in care services. We must develop services tailored to their needs and wishes and ensure they are treated with dignity.

“Older people have told us that they want to be cared for in their own homes and communities for as long as possible, and these projects will help them to do just that.”

This is the second phase of the POPP programme, which was launched in 2005. Successful applicants from phase one included mental health cafes with open door access for older people, telephone advice services and befriending schemes.

In this stage of the programme, councils are to be asked to work with older people to develop innovative proposals that will help people in their area live healthy active lives and remain independent for longer.

National Director for Older People’s Health Professor Ian Philp said, “I am particularly keen to see projects funded in this phase which address the contribution and needs of family carers and those which involve a major contribution from voluntary sector organisations.”

The projects provide an excellent opportunity for greater partnership working between Local Authorities and the NHS with the community, voluntary and independent sector.

Figures recently released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show that the past three years have seen a steady increase in the proportion of older people receiving intensive help to live independently at home rather than in residential care.

The focus of the POPP pilots is to test and evaluate different models of service, which will create a sustainable shift in resources and culture towards ‘prevention’.

The pilots will release funding from across the system for reinvestment in preventative approaches to care. They will provide more low-level care to improve the health, well-being and independence of older people, preventing or delaying the need for higher intensity and more costly care. They will also reduce avoidable, emergency admissions and/or bed-days for older people and support them instead to live in their own home.

Councils interested in bidding for the funding will find guidance at