More people needing social care than family carers is the headline from the latest report from think-tank IPPR.
The ‘Generation Strain’ report focuses on the fact older people who need more than 20 hours of care could be left without family to help, and overstretched services will struggle to cope.
Besides assuming older people want family support, the report takes a stereotypical view of how our elders should be supported in later life.
The older people we’ve spoken to want to retain their independence and don’t want to be a burden on their family. Instead, they want access to better lifestyle choices which enable them to continue living life in a way they’ve always done but with support when they need it.
Intentional communities, like Evermore, can provide older people with a warm and nurturing home for life, where they have companionship and help when needed but retain choice, control, and independence.
This new lifestyle choice can tackle the growing problem of social isolation, while providing domestic support or personal care that doesn’t compromise the freedom or dignity of the individual.
Yes, we need to transform the way we approach social care but that needs to be scalable and sustainable, and delivered in a way that doesn’t perpetuate the current institutionalised approach.
IPPR’s call for greater involvement of volunteer organisations might provide localised, grass roots support but it is tinkering not shifting a system that needs radical reinvention.
We must start with providing the right type of environment for older people to live that doesn’t involve them going into residential care or relying on friendly neighbours to help them in times of need.
We also need to start looking at our growing ageing population as contributors to society, not a strain on other generations.