The Forest of Dean District Council has no statutory Health & Social Care responsibilities which means we are not required or authorised by law to provide services for older or vulnerable people. But with an increasing ageing population and diminishing resources it is widely recognised that the health and well-being of communities – especially the vulnerable and socially isolated - is everyone’s responsibility. Ageing Well – how do we plan earlier for later life?
In the Forest of Dean we have really good partnerships between organisations, delivery support and services. These provide information to older and vulnerable people from across the public, private, voluntary and community sector - these organisations work hard together to save money, time and resources to deliver better outcomes responding to what older and vulnerable people say they want and need. Not simply seeing them as people who need services but people who have something to offer others; getting involved in the running and providing of services! It can be as simple as a partner connecting older people, enabling them to come together to develop friendships and support in a way that they want to – laughter filled chats!!! Supporting and enabling people to get involved in a way that they feel able to! It’s also about making people aware of the vast range of support (both financial and physical) that is out there. Giving individual 1-2-1 support to people which helps them to make difficult decisions; accepting help as early as possible to ensure that they can live independently for longer – reducing crisis situations which often reduces people’s choices.
There are times when people do need outside support to cope with normal daily tasks –such as washing, dressing, getting out of bed. There are also times when people are able live independently, and for longer, by friendships and support through mutual passions and interest– ie someone living with dementia may prefer to be known for their interests or their contribution to their community rather than a condition! And be able to cope better by such connections.
As well as working with organisations who deliver services we recognise that we want to develop closer links with the huge number of formal and informal lunch clubs and activity groups run by people who have a real handle of their communities – they have the relationships and knowledge of their communities.
In recognition of this the district council has appointed an older people’s member champion, Judy Davis, and an older people’s lead officer, Lena Maller, who with partners are working hard to make a difference!
If you would like more information on anything in this section please contact Lena Maller, Older & Vulnerable Lead Officer on Tel: 01594 812609 or email: email@example.com.