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According to data published by the ONS this month, we are living longer. This in itself is not new news to us; however the updated national population projections are staggering. It has been estimated that there will be an increasing number of older people; the proportion aged 85 years and over is projected to almost double over the next 25 years and by 2043 it is projected there will be 3 million over 85s in the UK.
This is good news, right? Our life expectancy is increasing, and we should be celebrating the fact many of us will be about longer to enjoy the things and people we love. However, the negativity appears to be outweighing this and the fear surrounding these ever-increasing figures is that this ageing population is set to deepen an ever-worsening social care crisis.
I have been working in the elderly care industry for a decade and firmly believe that we must allow people to age well. Older people must not be viewed as a burden on our society and nor should they be made to feel that way. We will all get there one day (hopefully) and what we do now will have a direct impact on our future as we join the elderly club. We need to implement the right services to support individuals at the right time and we must allow people to maintain their independence for as long as they can.
Close to Hand was created after I noticed a real need in our communities for ad-hoc, flexible home help that didn’t involve professional care but some companionship and a helping hand with small jobs such as shopping, preparing meals, housework and errands. An affordable service that could be available to support people as and when they needed it. A self-service way for people to connect with local people in their communities who could provide this help. An opportunity to build up a network of local contacts that they could call upon offering them choice and flexibility, whilst offering peace of mind and alleviating some of the burden on families.
It’s not the complete solution to the crisis facing our older generations, and ultimately us, but it is one option to help bring back some of that old-fashioned community spirit we are so lacking and offer support, help and companionship to our older generation.