Older People Managing Better across Wales – launch of new service to keep people safe and independent at home?

Five Welsh charities are delighted to announce that they will be working together to deliver a service across Wales that supports older people to “manage better” in their own homes.

Managing Better, is an expansion of a service previously delivered by Care & Repair Cymru, RNIB Cymru and Action on Hearing Loss Cymru. The collaboration will now be joined by Stroke Association Cymru and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru. The service will be funded by Welsh Government Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant, totaling £2.1m over three years (from 2020/21 to 2022/23).

Managing Better Caseworkers work in every part of Wales and have the knowledge and skills to know how frailty, stroke, dementia and sensory loss can inhibit independent living. They will work closely with health and social care professionals in communities and hospitals to provide support to older people in most need of help, keeping them safe, warm and independent at home.

Speaking on behalf of the partnership, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Care & Repair Cymru said: "This is fantastic news for older people across Wales. We are thrilled to be able to expand our successful Managing Better service to new partners in Stroke Association Cymru and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru to help reach even more vulnerable older people before they suffer a crisis such as falling at home, or presenting in hospital or GP surgeries due to illness.

“Our specialist Caseworkers already work closely with older people with sensory loss, and through expanding the partnership, we will increase understanding and support for independent living for people who have survived a stroke or are living with dementia.

“We are delighted that Welsh Government is investing in a preventative service that recognises that poor housing can lead to poor health, and lead to avoidable hospital admissions, visits to GP surgeries, or residential care homes.

“We have long argued that housing is an important cornerstone of delivering modern, community based services that delay, reduce, or prevent the need for NHS or Social Services. In helping us fund this service, Welsh Government is putting into practice its desire to see truly integrated services across Housing, Health and Social Care. This is a practical example of how Welsh Government’s policies in “A Healthier Wales” are being used to improve the lives of thousands of people.”

Welcoming the news, Sue Phelps, Director, Alzheimer’s Society Cymru added: “We’re pleased to be a part of this collaboration, adding to our work to improve the lives of our beneficiaries. It also makes great economic sense to join forces and increase the knowledge of Managing Better Caseworkers so that they embody the knowledge, skills and services of all five partner charities at the same time. The third sector is committed to the sensible agenda of better integrated working, both within the sector and with colleagues across Health, Housing and Social Care. Closer collaboration between organisations can only be good news for people in most need of support”.

Director of RNIB Cymru Ansley Workman said: “Living with sight loss can have a massive impact on your life and we believe everyone should have access to support. We know that when people get the support they need, they can rebuild their resilience and a sense of optimism about the future. Sight loss affects people of all ages, but especially older people. In Wales, one in five people aged over 75, and one in two aged 90 and over are living with sight loss, and the numbers are set to double by 2050. We know that people with sight loss are at greater risk of falls and depression. That’s why Managing Better is and will be a much needed help for older people with sight loss to remain living independently at home.”