Experts Called In To Boost Elderly Care

EXPERTS are being brought in to help social services chiefs decide how to look after residents in the twilight of their lives.

Neath Port Talbot Council has been working on a detailed review of elderly residential care in the county since last year.

It says it wants to provide a service that is fit for purpose to meet existing and future needs of the county’s older folk.

While it remains to be seen whether that will lead to the closure of any existing homes, the authority has already admitted some are not sustainable in their current form.

This week councillors will be asked to approve taking on leading social care industry specialists Laing & Buisson to work with the authority on finalising a long-term strategy.

A council spokeswoman said its success depended on key factors such as forecasting future demand for care home places or equivalent care, the relationship with health and housing, and looking at best practice solutions adopted by other councils.

“The review will also consider how residential care can continue to provide an essential service for vulnerable people who choose that option or who have high levels of dependency,” she said.

“This might include smaller units within each home, providing a more homely environment and the ability to offer specialist care.

“Thought will also be given to the possibility of more extra care housing schemes, which offer older and disabled people an alternative to traditional residential care.

“The emphasis is on people keeping their independence and control over the services they receive by combining the availability of 24-hour care with accommodation in self-contained flats and on-site communal facilities.”

Cabinet member for social care, health and housing, Peter Rees, said it was absolutely vital they got this review right.

“We are committed to continuing to provide first-class care for older people in Neath Port Talbot, but the make up of the population and the expectations and wishes of older people are changing,” he said.

“We need to challenge the rather depressing, inaccurate, stereotype of older people as becoming totally dependant.

“When planning ahead, we need to work with a more realistic picture of who older people are, what their role in society will be and give consideration to their more sophisticated expectations.”