A new service aimed at supporting older people living in their own homes to maintain their independence has launched in Norfolk.
The community outreach service for older people launched last week and supports vulnerable people who live in their own homes but might need some extra help to live full and active lives in their communities.
The support service, which is free to use for up to two years, has been created and funded by Norfolk County Council and aims to reach more than 1,000 people in its first year. It will see trained staff or volunteers visiting older people's homes and providing them with help and advice on areas which can become challenging in older age. These could include personal safety and security, managing finances, using health or legal services, social or community activities, making adaptations to their home and measures to reduce the risk of falls at home.
Shelagh Gurney, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “This is an innovative new service that I believe will make a big difference to many older people's lives and help them to retain their independence in a meaningful way.
“We know that more older people want to be supported to live in their own homes, and wherever it's possible and safe we want to help them do this. This service will provide support that is tailored to each person's needs and so will make the biggest impact on their quality of life, and help them live independently for longer than they otherwise might.
“As part of the outreach service, people will be able to get help through difficult periods and to adjust after life transitions including bereavement or after spells of ill health. The service will also help reduce social isolation, ensure people are receiving all the assistance and benefits to which they're entitled and help to make sure their home is warm, safe and in a good state of repair. If and when people need more care or their current home is no longer suitable, the outreach service workers will also be able to help manage this long before it reaches crisis point.”
The community outreach service is being provided by Cotman Housing Association in Norwich, by Great Yarmouth Borough Council in Great Yarmouth, and by the British Red Cross in the rest of Norfolk.
Peter McGuinness, Red Cross project manager, said; “We have been running volunteer-led social care services in Norfolk for a long time, and we know what a difference our visits can make to older people who are getting back to normal after a setback. It's great to have this opportunity to work with the council to reach people at the point when they begin to feel vulnerable. The support given by our volunteers at vulnerable moments will help to prevent crisis and keep people independent.”
Cllr Penny Linden, Cabinet Member for Communities at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “Supporting older people in our community is one of the top priorities of the council and the fact that winning this contract increases the amount of money that we have to do this means we can help far more older people - its great news!”
Vivien Farrow, Managing Director at Cotman Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to have won this contract as it will allow us to deliver much needed support to older people throughout the city and those living on the outskirts. We are also proud of the facilities at our sheltered schemes, and believe these should be accessible to other older people living nearby.”
If you think you or someone you know might benefit from the Older People Outreach Service, please contact:
* In north, south and west Norfolk: British Red Cross by ringing 0844 893 7779 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit www.redcross.org.uk/supportnorfolk for more information.
* In Norwich: Cotman Housing Association by ringing 01603 731699 or emailing email@example.com . Visit www.cotman-housing.org.uk for more information.
* In Great Yarmouth: Great Yarmouth Borough Council by ringing 01493 846655 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk for more information.