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older people Archives

The Last Week

Posted on 11th March 2016 by

"The Last Week" NCS blog image

Last Friday, I was covering the telephone in the office and took several interesting calls. First, one from Gerry.

He had been to see Matthew, a 73-year-old man with a learning disability, who had been admitted to hospital earlier in the week because he had been feeling suicidal. Gerry had been helping Matthew into new sheltered accommodation only the week before. Matthew has also been suffering badly with his legs and is losing his mobility. Over the last few months, Gerry has been seeing Matthew two or three times a week, liaising with social services and his housing provider on Matthew’s behalf.

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Neighbourhood Care Scheme Featured in BBC Article on Loneliness

Posted on 23rd May 2014 by
Elaine & Miles

An older but lovely photo of Miles and Elaine
(more recent pictures on the BBC article)

Yesterday the BBC published an article titled “Loneliness: Beating the curse of old age” featuring Elaine Rothwell, a Neighbourhood Care Scheme (NCS) member, and her volunteer Miles Sigley-Brown. It gives us a small window into Elaine’s long and eventful life then highlights a big contrast: Elaine lives alone.

Elaine told BBC journalist, Nick Triggle, how she feels about her situation and how she gets on with her life despite the loneliness of older age. One major part of enjoying her life is her volunteer, Miles, who was matched with her by the NCS.

“[Elaine] has found comfort in a new friendship she has developed with Miles Sigley-Brown, a 46-year-old whom she was introduced to through a local befriending scheme.”

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Cut-Price Care?

Posted on 5th February 2014 by

I happened to catch part of the Radio 4 programme called Cut-Price Care last night. They looked at whether we can be confident that home care provided for older people and those with disabilities is of proper quality.

They say “Ministers have promised a new focus on home care for the elderly and disabled amid concern that 15-minute calls and a low-paid, under-skilled workforce are leaving vulnerable people at risk.”

Hands of an older lady

Brighton & Hove has a series of private companies providing home care for them, with a budget of over £11 million a year. Some of the care provided is exceptionally good, and some is not so good – and according to Radio 4, this tends to be the picture across the country. Their programme makes the point: you wouldn’t want to be the unlucky person who happened to have their care provided by a not-so-good company, would you?

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Improving Palliative Care

Posted on 15th January 2014 by

Last week I took part in a focus group led by Dr Catherine Evans of the OPTCare (“Optimising palliative care for older people in community settings”) research project. The project is a joint venture between the Sussex Community NHS Trust and the Cicely Saunders Institute at Kings College, London. The aim of the study is to understand how “older people living with frailty could benefit from a new service with a specialist palliative care team providing an extra layer of support for a short time.” The findings of the study will help in the development of community support services and care for older people with frailty and their families. You can find out more by following this link:

Why was I there? Because, over the years, Neighbourhood Care Scheme (NCS) volunteers have helped to support many people in times of severe illness and towards the end of their lives. Our volunteers, particularly, have supported people who may not have close family around them. A few things struck me at the meeting:

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