A Better Old Age: Contributing, Providing and Including

21Oct10

We’ve spent the last few months chatting to older adults about the support they value and how we could use the web to connect people who want to do more in the community together. Besides talking to potential service users and providers, we’ve been attending events, looking out for campaigns and working out how Have a Go Heroes could make a real difference. As we look to piloting the service (more of that below), we’d like to share three main points of Have a Go Heroes:

Contributing

It seems that the support people value most is often when they can contribute and get involved in managing their own support network. We recently attended a NESTA event that explored ‘The New Old Age’ and how culturally we need to challenge how we look at this stage of our lives. Charles Leadbeater spoke about people being able to continue to work in some shape or form after retiring – not only for economic reasons, but that it would help other problems surrounding retirement, around loneliness, not being able to contribute or feeling part of something:

“The first design principle of ageing should be to retain a sense of capacity – that is what people fear losing most.”

This was in fact an early theme in our conversations with older people. Again, we can look at the success of Senior Corps in the States as a testament to this.

Providing

Although discussions about a new old age are vital and needed for a culture change towards what retirement means, we want to be able to provide a service that will help older people today, and with this we have to take into consideration the large service cuts proposed:

“The Local Government Association has warned that councils could be left with an annual shortfall between £12.5 billion and £20 billion by 2014 – 5 if no changes were made to the way public services are delivered.

Other non statutory services funded by the department are also likely to be under threat, such as meals-on-wheels services for the elderly and adult social care.”

The Telegraph, 13th October 2010

Have a Go Heroes wants to help strengthen the social networks of older people to help the informal support services that may be under threat – as well as make the most of existing support by using the platform to promote and reach out to those isolated within communities.

Including

Timely enough given it’s Get Online week led by the team behind RaceOnline, a campaign that supports people to become more comfortable with the web. It’s great to see some work focusing on people who might need a bit of help getting used to that big wide world web. We like this video below from the First Click campaign (part of Get Online week) that hopes to get older adults to try out the internet for the first time:

However, we do recognise that a fully inclusive online future is still some way off and so any service that we develop will look to blend the best of the on and offline, ensuring the services are designed for all. One of the benefits of working with a local authority in piloting Have a Go Heroes will be the ability to explore different communications and engagement channels, linking up services on and offline.

Phase Two: A partner to pilot

We are now beginning to have conversations with councils who want are interested in innovating how they provide adult care and social support.

The presentation below gives you a summary of our work during phase one of Have a Go Heroes. If you’re interested in the detail behind the presentation, get in touch and we’ll send you our phase one report.

Do you want to provide adult social care in a new way? If you’d like to meet up and explore possible ways to collaborate we’d love to hear from you. Leave a commenttweet us or just drop us a line.


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