By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead
ACROSS the bay, older people are struggling to stay in the one place they love the most – their own homes.
Only a few years ago there was almost an expectation that once we had achieved our three score years and ten, then we would see out the rest of our days being cared for in a home.
Local authorities were geared up to accommodate those that could not afford private care homes, and thousands sprung up across the country.
But spiralling costs, austerity and thankfully common sense have since come into play with the realisation that looking after someone in their own home is not just preferable, it is often cheaper, and nine times out of ten the individual is much happier as a result.
A few months ago, I met someone who had been almost condemned to a life of loneliness when his partner died, and the best advice his former colleagues could offer was to go into a home.
He ignored their advice, choosing instead to move into a flat of his own, but because he had snubbed the received wisdom of the day, he was left to his own devices, and he became lonely and isolated.
It was not until he called into the offices of Age UK Torbay in Paignton some 15 years later that he realised the help, support and company that he craved had been there for the taking – he just wasn’t sure it was for him.
Now he is happy, busy and helping ensure others do not fall into the same trap – he is even going on holiday later this year with others who were potentially in the same position.
A new project is being launched across the bay which aims to bring together a whole support system that means that people like him can stay in their own homes and be happy doing so.
There are many, often minor, things that make continuing to live in your home difficult and six organisations, including Age UK Torbay are coming together to help overcome those things.
It might be that as a result of the death of a loved one, that someone is struggling to prepare meals as they have never done it before, but Ellacombe Community Café will be on hand to give cookery lessons help with online shopping and prepare recipes.
Healthwatch Torbay will be on hand to help with issues around health and care services ensuring that everyone who wants it has access to the services they need when they need it.
But sometimes we all feel let down and are at a loss to know where to turn, and that is where seAp (Support, Empower, Advocacy, Promote) will come in to share the burden helping you resolve your issues or concerns and help you have a say in the way you, or someone you love, are cared for.
A major obstacle to Staying Put in your own home as you get older is the type of job that was once no trouble, but becomes all too difficult – like changing lightbulbs, putting up curtains or fixing that shelf, and that is where Brixham Yes come into their own with an affordable handy person service.
Ageing Well Torbay and Torbay Community Development Trust will be on hand to answer all your queries, and point you in the right direction as well as providing help around the house though a buddying up system.
We will also be coordinating much-needed volunteers because we want to get back to the days when neighbours looked out for each other and did those little, but essential jobs like putting the bins out or mowing the lawns.
More than anything we would like to help put Torbay on the map, not just as one of the friendliest places to live but as one of the strongest, most self-reliant communities, a place where growing older is as good as it gets.
If you need help or want to give help, then please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call our dedicated hotline – 01803 446022.