The most recent census found that 9.3million people, 17.6% of England's population – live in rural areas.
This number will include older people and people with a disability. Many older people may already need care support or are likely to in the future. Disabled people are in a similar position.
Many people have younger, local relatives, friends, advocates who though willing are unable to provide regular, care support.
The major problem is that a lack of information about all aspects of care support means that people living in rural areas are finding it especially difficult to access opportunities, facts and figures, without which they are unable to make choices.
Sons and daughters visiting older parents realise they need to find out about local care services, to source additional facts, an older spouse wanting to support a wife or husband needs to know what to do to sustain their lifestyle. Many people believe that their local surgery will have the answers, but this is rarely the solution.
Ten of thousands of villages have no newspaper delivery, have no local shop, no local post office, no library, so how does information get through about what is available in the care sector?
What care support is available, how much does it cost, are there any State Benefits that can be claimed, is there a local support group, what is NHS Care Support, what is social care, etc? Where do they get such information?
There is public media advertising about smoking, obesity and eating ‘five a day’ but no public media advertising about how to find out where to go for information when care support is needed.
There are many charities which have quality information which is easily available once you know who to contact.
There are many charities which have volunteer services supporting people who need their help, but who are they?
There are thousands of care providers who have a wide range of services which can be individualised and are available in rural areas, where are they found, what questions should be asked?
Care needs are described in a four-stage narrative. Low Care, Moderate Care, Substantial Care and Critical Care.
For example, providing Low Care support, such as the Home Help Service begun in the 1960’s is preventative care and can mean that an individual does not reach further levels of need or will take much longer to reach the next level. Knowing when to access, how to access, what it entails is essential information. (In addition, this would probably reduce the cost on the NHS and other Social Services).
Knowledge is power, and steps should be taken to have a comprehensive public campaign to offer directions to both urban and rural communities with reference to care provision in the UK
Website - www.ablecommunitycare.com
NB - This article is based on 38 years of providing a care service in the UK and on the many presentations which are given to groups of people living in rural areas.
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