A blueprint for looking after the Borders’ elderly population has been drawn up and residents’ views are being sought before it’s finalised.
In the Borders the number of people over the age of 75 is expected to rise by 100% by 2015, and plans need to be put in place now to ensure services can cope in the future.
This involves integrating health and social care systems and their funding and Scottish Borders Council (SBC) NHS Borders, Scottish Care and the Borders Voluntary Community Care Forum (BVCCF), have been working together on an ‘Older People’s Joint Commissioning Strategy’.
The contents of the document are based on the responses they got after consulting service users, carers and members of the public.
Focus is on ensuring that older people: have choice, dignity and control of their lives; keep healthy and well; enjoy, achieve and contribute to life in their community; keep independent; and keep safe. The role of unpaid carers is also highlighted and the support they may need is also an important part of the document.
For all this to be achieved elderly residents and their carers need to know how to access information, support and advice when they feel unwell, and services need to be flexible and suit the needs of the individual. All parties involved in producing the strategy recognise how confusing it can be for people to know who does what, so a joint approach is being developed so that regardless of which body the initial point of contact is made with, the care needs of the elderly person are dealt with appropriately.
Councillor Catriona Bhatia, said: “This strategy demonstrates how important older people are to the Borders.
“At the same time there is a need to shift the way ageing and older people are perceived as well as consideration of where shared responsibility for care and support lies. This includes recognising that solutions are not always service based but rather families and local communities can be best placed to support older people.”
Calum Campbell, chief executive of NHS Borders described the strategy as: “The start of a necessary future plan for all of the elderly population of the Borders. We have to start planning now so our services will be able to rise to the demands of the future. We are committed to working closely alongside older people to achieve this and our partners in the council and independent and voluntary sectors to find the right solutions.”
Consultation continues until May 31. Drop-in sessions and visits to local groups and organisations are planned.