Cost of caring for elderly in Falkirk is going up

Caring for the elderly is increasingly expensive
Caring for the elderly is increasingly expensive

The drive to allow elderly people to retain their independence and live at home is contributing to a projected £1.4 million social work overspend.

At last week’s Falkirk Council scrutiny committee members heard social work’s current adult care budget stood at £70 million, but increased demand for home care provision and other factors were leading to an increase in spending.

The key reasons for the huge overspend were identified as caring for those with learning disabilities and the fact elderly people are living longer.

Baillie Joan Paterson said: “It’s important for the service users that we make the best use of the resources we have. We need to cut out levels of administration.”

To manage the increase and get the adult care overspend down the social work department is reviewing contract costs, training staff on alternative ways of working and developing a partnership approach with service users.

The report stated: “Work has started on re-profiling eligibility criteria to ensure as we go forward scarce resources are targeted at those with the highest level of need. In addition work with partners is focussed on ensuring accessible services are in place which are aimed at preventing needs escalating.

“We will focus on delivering outcomes to support service users to maintain their independence.”

The committee heard elderly people taking the wrong medication was a common reason for admission to hospitals and this could be solved if home care staff were able to administer the correct medication to the service user directly.

The department has been allocated cash to employ a pharmacist for six months to help train home care staff in this practice.

Councillor Allyson Black said: “We hear everyone has to get their own flat and be independent, but we should also have group homes for people too. For some people group living is better.”