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Live at Home – valuable support for older people in the community

Austerity, public cuts, funding future care…sometimes it feels as though it’s all about the money. Funding is crucial for organisations delivering services to support older people, but a little innovation, coupled with the power of people keen to make a difference in their own communities can go a long way – and that’s our experience with our Live at Home schemes.

MHA pioneered the concept of Live at Home schemes 25 years ago – the idea being to help and support older people who are living independently in the community to get more out of life. We now have 76 local schemes across the UK, providing advice, support and friendship to more than 9,000 older people.

Typical activities include arranging one-to-one befriending, lunch clubs, outings, information, signposting, shopping trips and more. All our experience tells us that these schemes make a valuable difference to older peoples’ lives. They prevent isolation and loneliness, help people access practical help and support and enable them to stay engaged and involved in their local community.

Now independent research is suggesting that our Live at Home schemes not only improve quality of life, but also have a preventative effect that could save money for local authorities as older people maintain their independence and well-being.* Through efficient use of resources and strong local volunteer support these schemes are able to achieve this for as little as £6 per person per week.

When we consider our growing population of older people in the context of funding cuts and austerity measures, anything that we can do to help people stay independent, remain engaged in community life and enjoy living at home isn’t just the right thing for us as a charity to do – it makes financial sense for those holding health and social care budgets too.

Alison Slater

Services Manager – Community Services

*What Would We Do Without It? MHA Live at Home: An Assessment of Outcomes, by Sue Garwood, an independent researcher for the Department of Health’s Housing Learning Improvements Network

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