Facing the future
By Stephen Burke, Chief Executive, Counsel and Care
This is a golden moment to shape and influence care and support for older people. With a new Government and a sharper media focus on our ageing population, policy makers and practitioners are increasingly keen to better meet the needs of older people.
I am privileged to join Counsel and Care at this time. We have a great opportunity to seize the agenda and promote real choice for older people in later life.
We are ambitious for older people. We have plans to extend and promote our advice service to help more older people and their families directly. We also want to support the plethora of local advice and advocacy agencies around the country.
We must use the experience and concerns of older people to inform our policy and communications. We want to push elder care to the top of the agenda.
To do so we need clear messages. We need to be clear about the problems and issues facing older people, their relatives and carers. The lottery of care in this country means that access to care depends on where you live, your income and ability to pay. We are talking about millions of lives which could be better if care and support was better.
The recent Office of Fair Trading report highlighted the complexities and unfairness hundreds of thousands of families face in finding and paying for a care home every year. We also know from our advice service that thousands and thousands of older people struggle day in, day out to get the care and help they need in their own home.
We need clear messages about the way forward. What kind of care choices do older people want? How do we make affordable quality care available to all who need it, wherever they are?
Of course resources are critical. That’s why I believe the Wanless review of the funding of social care provides a real chance to lever in new resources. But there are plenty of other opportunities which we need to grasp – from the adult social care Green Paper to the Social Exclusion Unit’s conclusions on reaching excluded older people.
We need to get the media onside. We need to make the case powerfully, in ways that people can relate to. Almost every family in this country knows what it’s like for an older person to struggle without the care and support they need. We need to make sure that their struggle is a major public concern that is responded to.
Small organisations can make a big difference. I look forward to working with you to get the best care and support for all older people. There are exciting times ahead of us at Counsel and Care and beyond.
This collection of articles by authors who in their various roles are concerned with creating a better future for older people is a powerful demonstration of hope in the future. We all have to face the future.