Policies that Enable Older People to Remain at Home as Much as Possible The elder generation’s legacy and sacrifice have made life easier for the present generation. Thus, it is the responsibility of the modern society to recognise their contributions to the world and provide them a safe, congenial and comfortable environment that will enable them to carry on with the rest of their life in peace…
The objective of dignity to elders can be achieved only if the policies emphasise the concept of enabling older people to remain in a homely environment as much as possible, to usher in the safety and general welfare of senior citizens. The UK has been a pioneer in drafting many such policies that seek better avenues to channelize appropriate alternatives and resources for the elderly people, as discussed below. Though the concept of taking care of the elderly has existed even in the earlier civilizations, in the form of shelter for the old and community care centres, the idea of specific policies and laws to govern them began to manifest their presence from the beginning of the 19th century. The succeeding years after Second World War (WWII) saw the advent of demographic changes with a sharp rise in life expectancy and fall of fertility rates, with an unprecedented increase in the population of older people. The modern welfare state carried forward the policies and laws for the old and aged and institutionalized them. The prevailing “Poor Law” (Public Assistance following Local Government Act, 1929) (Thane 2009) where power was designated to public assistance committees of local council has given way in the 70s, 80s and subsequent years to the present policies, the focus shifting to enabling elderly peope to remain and be cared for at their homes. The spotlight being on the need for older people to stay at home for as long as possible (Department of Health, 1989), the White Paper on Community Care (1989) discussed about the society deliberating to see the roles of State, community, families and individuals in the rehabilitation and development of “independence, self fulfilment and participation (of elder) with assurance of care and dignity of who are most frail and vulnerable” (Leeson 2003). The resultant NHS and Community Care act-1990 has encouraged the development of community care provisions and implementation where present policies for older and disabled people should promote healthy independence, more carers, modernize and integrate service, provision of individual needs centred services, a feeling of belonging in the community, and a sense of money value. “Such policies rely high on availability of unpaid, informal typical family care from inside the community” (Harper and Leeson, 2002) and “current service models of distribution of specific factors in existing family care” (Leeson, 2004). Since the 90s, these policies and laws have undergone a sea change, with revisions and modifications of existing policies and besides implementing to new measures seeking to help community care, like “Disability Living Allowance from 1992’; the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act, 1995; the Mental Health (Patients in the Community) Act, 1995; the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995; the Community Care (Direct Payments) Act, 1996” (House of Commons Health Committee: Social Care 2008-09) etc which have enabled the local authorities to make payments to disabled people to assist them in buying community services according to their needs. The ...
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