Headlines: August 5th, 1999

The Better Government for Older People Programme is getting into gear with road shows and the establishment of networks. The Programme, launched in June 1998, seeks to improve public services for older people by better meeting their needs, listening to their views, and encouraging their contribution, so they can fully participate in their communities.

Over the next few months members of the Inter-Ministerial Group for Older People will be touring the UK to listen to the views and concerns of older people. They will be looking particularly at transport, housing and care issues, and how they might work better – and together – to meet the needs of older people. The events are being arranged in partnership with non-government organisations.

Learning networks bringing together local authority Leaders and Chief Executives together with voluntary organisations and older people themselves are being set up across the country. A new network for councils, voluntary bodies and other service providers, which will spread best practice in improving services for older people, has been launched in Wales. It will help to establish and spread best practice, for example the setting up of one-stop-shops which can enable older people to claim the benefits more quickly and easily.

As result of a pilot project in Wales, the Benefits Agency, is running information roadshows, and has set up a telephone helpline for carers. The pilot has also set up an older people’s steering group as part of a community network and established community based services for older people. 12,000 pounds has been reallocated to allow the development of a luncheon club and day care facilities. The pilot has undertaken a joint project with Care and Repair to provide home alarms and safety sensors allowing vulnerable older people to remain in their own homes.