I’m sat waiting for the Dilnot Commission to report – there are about 10mins left until it goes live on the Department of Health website. The few tweets that are leaking out of the press briefing, together with the media presence this weekend, suggest that Dilnot will be recommending that our politicians take some hard decisions about funding care and support. This has been suggested before but I’m optimistic that the appetite is different now. People are facing up to so many financial challenges throughout their lives, society knows that change is required, we all know that demographic changes mean that many of us are living longer and healthier lives. If you’re interested in the changes in trends and developments that have led to these changes, in terms of public policy, social trends, political context, technology and a few more, check out the Dartington review on the future of adult social care – published by @ripfa last year and written by Richard Humphries from the Kings’ Fund.
That’s all context but it still begs the question for most people of what is care and support?
A couple weeks ago I blogged my initial thoughts about #Dilnot and just wanted to pull two snippets out of that post to try and answer that question:
Care and support is usually referred to as social care. It is enabling support, it helps people to be independent, active and healthy throughout their lives. It is the support required to enable people to do day-to-day things such as live at home, work, cook, shop, care for their family, engage with their friends, family and community, and essentially lead a fulfilling and independent life for as long as possible.
This support is provided by a range of services, including support to live independently, benefits for disabled people, practical support such as meals on wheels, day centres and care homes, home adaptations and adjustments and other housing support. Services are also available to provide support for carers.
Not sure if that makes it any clearer but care and support refers to support for anyone who requires it – that could be myself and yourself, it could be due to a physical disability, an illness, due to getting older. It is not just about older people or ‘elderly care’ – it is about much more than that. It comes down to how as a society we wish to treat those that require support, it is not just about middle class people having to spend their inheritance or just about the death tax.
This is much, much more important than that. As I finished a couple weeks ago:
The vast majority of people don’t recognise themselves as health or social care users, they are just people, who need some support. Until social care gets itself to a point where it can define clearly what it is, how it helps, and openly discuss its limitations (whether financial or otherwise) we’re in trouble.
Social care has an opportunity, society has an opportunity, to use Dilnot as the start of a bigger discussion. Many people are forced to understand social care, once their lives reach crisis point. If you do one thing today, take time to think about how you would access care and support if you needed it – just give it two minutes reflection time, it’s as good a place as any to start!