The Queen’s Speech- draft social care bill announced

May 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament this morning when she delivered the annual Queen’s Speech to open parliament. In one of the most lavish occasions in Parliament’s calendar, the Queen outlined the government’s legislation for the year ahead.

The speech revealed nineteen bills including a Children and Families Bill, a Crime and Courts Bill and the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill that safeguards suppliers against powerful supermarket chains.

The Queens Speech 2012

However many are disappointed to hear that a full bill on social care was not outlined. Instead a draft bill was announced during the Queen’s Speech much to the disapproval of people who are carers or supporters of elderly charities such as Age UK, who have campaigned for reform in social care’s law and funding.

The sheer volume of support for campaigns such as Age UK’s Care in Crisis– a campaign that has seen thousands sign petitions, write to parliament and even campaign at Westminster- displays how in demand change to the current care system is making today’s announcement deeply disappointing.

However, Age UK has released a statement which looks positively at the draft bill. As the leading charity for older people in the UK they plan to work with the government to make legislation possible next year and urge campaigners to continue backing social care reforms for as long as needs be.

Websites of the Week 1st- 5th August 2011

August 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

Earlier this week I wrote about my visit to Blackbrook Zoological Park with my grandson Sam. I thought it would be a great gesture to include their website in this week’s feature because we had such a wonderful time.

blackbrook zoological park

The site is charming and a real pleasure to sit and read through with so much information about the variety of animals to see at Blackbrook. I love the design- so bright, colourful and vibrant completed with great animations (go online to see for yourself).

Even better Blackbrook Zoo is celebrating its 20th birthday and now offering a special offer to visitors. Simply say ‘Happy Birthday’ on entry and kids are able to go into the park for free- a great way to spend a day during the school holiday.


directgovWith 3.1 million over 65’s receiving no contact from family and friends in a single week, it’s easy to see why isolation in the elderly has become a significant problem.

I’ve previously blogged about organisations which focus their help in specific areas. However, I would like to draw my attention to local councils as a whole, as they can offer information which is accessible to you.

old ladies

The Directgov website features an A-Z list of local council websites, which lead to further information about local communities. From groups and clubs, events in the area and support networks which might be a great help; everything from where to find a local lunch time club, how to get more help around the house and even what benefits your entitled too as an elderly person in the community.

I truly believe that social groups for the elderly, whether it be a dance class or tea and biscuits weekly meet up are a great way to enhance life and become more socially engaged. All the information about such in your community is available via your local council. It’s a great idea to do some research and go maybe along.


telegraph Travel Logo

This week’s soring temperatures could have easily fooled the team into thinking that we’d moved the office to the Mediterranean. The extremely warm weather may have made been a little uncomfortable but did give me a great excuse to share all of my favourite holiday tips.

A tip that I’ve not mentioned is how I love to read The Telegraph Travel, which has huge variety of articles on destinations throughout the world. Featuring beautiful photographs and endless reviews there is plenty to indulge on if you’re research for an upcoming holiday or just day dreaming about a getaway.

Beach the telegraph travel

I particularly enjoy Telegraph Travel because I feel as though I’m getting a real image of prospective destinations/hotels/resorts as all reports are well travelled with excellent knowledge behind them. Even if you don’t have time for a holiday abroad the site features lots about break here in the UK. Enjoy!

Avoiding isolation in the elderly years

August 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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lonely ladyI read about the health of elderly people frequently and always come across the same problem, isolation. That terrible feeling of loneliness, abandonment and seclusion which rarely seems to fade.

The problem is becoming increasingly highlighted with the quality of social care been constantly questioned. The simple fact is that isolation needs addressing as the effects of little social interaction with vulnerable and elderly people are shocking.

This was made clear when Friends of the Elderly recently carried out a week long experiment ‘Isolation Week’. Working with a group of socially active ‘young’ people (ranging from 20’s to 50’s) each participant was to live alone without any contact from friends or family. Instead television became their companion, with the occasional allowance of using the internet, however not for social networking purposes- Changing their lifestyle for that of an elderly isolated person.

I was astonished with how quickly living in isolation started to change the mind set of those involved. Depression became the most prominent problem as many quickly became miserable and unable to perk themselves up, which sounds far too familiar.

Rather than glumly look at the negatives, which of course needed addressing. I’ve started to keep a keen eye on ways that elderly people can avoid living in isolation.

old ladies

A previous blog included the fantastic services of Southwark Circle, a social care organisation operating in London. The scheme is brilliant and work on socially improving the lives of elderly people in the community. I think that this style of social care is extremely refreshing and one which could see success elsewhere.

I recently read about a singing group in south Wales cheekily titled the ‘Golden Oldies’, who offer their services to elderly people who get joy from singing great pop music. The group holds weekly sessions which get people together for a good sing song and has a simple aim of giving elderly people something to look forward too.

The weekly session system seems a good route for the elderly to go down. Whether that is a singing group, a knitting group or light exercise class for the elderly (there are plenty out there- search online with your local council). As these sessions are great places go and make friends as well as providing a little routine to day to day life.

golden olides

Of course, recent news that many local authorities will soon be cutting funds to bus routes, which are used predominantly by the elderly, will have a big impact. Such news is devastating and frustrating. However, getting online could be the answer. If you can’t get to your friends why not Skype them or become friends on Facebook. Send each other Tweets about what you’re currently reading or when you’re next going to play bowls. Online options are endless and with so much help available it really is a realistic away to avoid feeling isolated.

Of course nothing compares to living in a family home with loved ones but these options can help make life much happier and ease loneliness whilst getting older.

Southwark Circle- A new approach to social care.

July 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Having worked in the mobility industry for many years I have come across a variety of concepts which aim to make the lives of elderly people better. However, it is rare to discover something different. Having read about Southwark Circle in The Telegraph online yesterday I got an instance sense of ‘wow, what a great idea’.

Southwark Circle is a simple concept with two main aims; simply to get people together and provide practical help on an accessible basis.

Founded in 2009 Southwark Circle is exclusive to the community of Southwark borough in London. Two years later it has a sturdy membership of 860 and provides genuine, forward thinking social care for the community.

southwark  circle

With such a huge following it’s hard not to question what the Circle’s magic ingredient is. Why do over 50’s (this is their target audience) want to become apart for Southwark Circle and what makes it different from any other social community group?

I pondered these questions and the truth is the answers are really simple. For a start the social calendar for member is fantastic. In July alone members could visit The Imperial War Museum, watch a cricket match, visit the theatre to see The Railway Children, enjoy an Indian meal and that’s only naming a handful of activities.

Secondly the Southwark Circle works on a ‘token’ basis; members purchase tokens valued at £10 which can be exchanged for a social event. Alternatively members who may need the help from Southwark helpers can pay for an hours labour with their tokens. Helpers can do anything from change a light bulb to help your send a text.

Basically, members fund their involvement and needs on a token basis- making taking part and receiving help easy and hassle free.

southwark circle members

What makes Southwark Circle more successful is its outlook. Brilliantly they never mention age or remind their members that the average age of a member is 69. The concept realises that people don’t want to be reminded about growing older, however, they do desire the social care which comes naturally with aging.

Additionally, Southwark Circle encourages members put on their own social events with people they have met through the Circle. Celebrating the fact that members can find genuine friendships from the scheme. A true triumph as the average member falls into the shocking statistic which says ‘3.1 million over-65s have no contact with a friend, neighbour or family member in any one week.’

Described as ‘a pioneering scheme that improves old people’s lives socially as well as practically’, Southwark Circle tackles aging and the system of social care head on. I think that it is a much needed modern approach, with simple aims and fantastic outcomes. The Circle concept is set to be spread out across the country, and I can’t think of anything better for an aging and often isolated population.

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