Practitioners’ Messages

● Good relationships with family and friends, having a role, feeling useful, and being treated with respect are all important to older people (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2006).

● Older people who live alone are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness, as confirmed in the Our Health, Our Care, Our Say white paper.

● Social exclusion can increase the chances of mental illness, particularly depression.

● In a long-term study of home care, help to get out of the house was the most common unmet need (Patmore, 2005, see Scie practice guide 9).

● The elderly are more likely to be socially excluded (Barnes, 2006. See Scie guide 9).

● In applying the national minimum standards for domiciliary care “regulators will consider… how the organisation collaborates with other services/professionals to maximise independence and ensure the individual’s inclusion in the community”.

● The national minimum standards for care homes require that: “The routines of daily living and activities made available are flexible and varied to suit service users’ expectations, preferences and capacities” and that “service users maintain contact with family/friends/…and the local community as they wish.”

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