Older People’s Charity Calls On Services To Forge Links For Elderly

The chair of a new “super charity” has called on managers to forge closer links with social services to ensure older people stay in hospital for the right length of time.

Dianne Jeffrey said sometimes older people stay in too long because a nursing home place cannot be found, but others are discharged too soon to increase patient flow.

Her comments come after being appointed chair of a merger of the two main charities that support older people, Help the Aged and Age Concern.

“There are heart-rending stories about older people being discharged from hospital and then having to come back,” said Ms Jeffrey, a former NHS Confederation chair. “Older people can get very upset about where they are sleeping.”

She said a major goal is to tackle inequalities affecting older people. Some with depression are rarely offered “talking therapies” for mental health problems, because it is wrongly assumed that feeling unhappy is simply a symptom of getting old, the charity argues.

Ms Jeffrey said managers should consult older people when designing and commissioning services.

Help the Aged and Age Concern will officially join forces in April, although there is not yet agreement on a name.

“Half of people want the word ‘age’ in the title and half don’t,” said Ms Jeffrey.