Helping people continue to live independent lives in own homes

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Being forced to remain in hospital, unable to return home as there is no one to assist you getting dressed in the morning or help you to prepare meals is a situation being faced by some of the most elderly and vulnerable in our communities.

A chronic shortage of carers, coupled with a growing older population, means the demands for homecarers has never been greater.

Where once when people reached a certain age or began to struggle to do some things for themselves the response was to find them a place in a care home, in recent years the move has been to encourage independent living.

Although homes for the elderly have a valuable part to play in today’s society, there is now more concerted efforts to keep people living in their own homes as long as possible.

However, while the intentions are good to carry them out there needs to be a robust workforce.

Those on the frontline of providing care will tell you that Falkirk Council can already boast a quicker turnaround of care packages for those in need than other areas. But never to be complacent and aware of the ever-growing list of those in need, a new campaign has been launched to tackle the national trend of declining numbers entering the profession.

Homecare comes under the control of Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, a tie up between the local authority’s social services staff and NHS Forth Valley.

Julia Swan, chairperson of Falkirk Integration Joint Board, said: “Scotland needs to recruit more carers nationally and we need to recruit urgently in the Falkirk area. We are aiming to recruit a number of local people to our homecare team as personal carers.

“You would be part of a committed team that helps to support people to live more independent lives in their own homes. By using your own personal skills and the training we offer, you could make a real difference to individuals in your community.”

The number of over 75s living in the Falkirk Council area is projected to rise by 35 per cent in the ten year period to 2024.

With that rise in older people will come an increasing demand to assist them to live as healthy and fulfilling lives as possible.

Keith Robson, Age Scotland’s charity director, said: “We know many areas throughout Scotland are facing a critical shortage of carers, so this recruitment drive is a welcome move. This shortage means many older people face a long wait for care packages, which can be extremely stressful for them and their families.

“Carers do an incredibly important job, making a real difference to older people’s lives and helping them to live independently in their homes as long as possible. We’d encourage anyone interested in a change of career to find out more.

“However, we believe more needs to be done to address the current issues in care staffing and funding. The Scottish Government’s introduction of the living wage for carers is a step in the right direction. But we need a nationwide effort to make caring jobs more attractive to more people, and ensure they receive the support and training they need.”