Falkirk reviews day car services to combat loneliness and isolation

Day services for older people in Falkirk are being reviewed in a bid to find better ways to combat loneliness and isolation.

Members of Falkirk Council heard that the aim was to stop relying on day centres and offer a range of alternatives for a wider range of people aged over 65.

Patricia Cassidy, the Health and Social Care Partnership's chief officer, told councillors that it wanted to offer lots of different ways to engage with older people.

She said: "Just because you're 75 doesn't mean you want to sit in a room doing flower arranging, for example.

Elderly care

The aim is to commission some services and work with third sector and other groups - from bowling clubs to lunch clubs - to encourage independence and well-being.

Some day services will remain but these will be more targeted to those who really need them.

Martin Thom, head of integration, told councillors that the review was not expected to achieve savings but was about using resources more effectively.

Ms Cassidy said it followed a similar review of younger adults' services where - after discussions with service users and families - it had successfully found new ways for young people to meet, such as the successful 'dates and mates' programme.

Councillor Fiona Collie welcomed the report from the Integrated Joint Board, which oversees the work of the Health and Social Care Partnership.

She said: "Most of us will already know examples in our own communities with things that are going on - local churches, friendship cafes, men's sheds and more.

"I think the pandemic has brought into sharp focus loneliness and social isolation - something many of us have had to face and which can often be the day to day reality for older people."

Councillor Allyson Black agreed that the community support during the pandemic had been outstanding.

She was glad that the report recognised that many of the volunteers at lunch clubs and similar groups were also older - and Covid had taken a toll on them.

She added that she hoped they would see funding to help deal with things such as transport, social distancing and other Covid measures, which would all bring additional costs.

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