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The economic case for a befriending and practical at-home support scheme for older people in Shropshire, England

Bauer, Annette ORCID: 0000-0001-5156-1631, Knapp, Martin ORCID: 0000-0003-1427-0215, Perkins, Margaret, Wistow, Gerald, Iemmi, Valentina ORCID: 0000-0003-3301-0689 and King, Derek ORCID: 0000-0002-2408-4558 (2014) The economic case for a befriending and practical at-home support scheme for older people in Shropshire, England. PSSRU Discussion Papers (2881). PSSRU, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Initiatives that help older people to live in their homes more independently have shown that they can prevent or delay the need for more intensive or institutional care by promoting positive health and wellbeing (Beswick et al. 2010; Hurstfield et al. 2007). Community capacity-building projects (in the rest of the paper we call them community projects or projects) offer one route to providing such support, and perhaps especially where they employ person-centred approaches, such as in so called ‘help-at-home’ schemes which provide emotional, social and practical support for older people living in the community. Understanding the value that such projects provide in terms of their contribution to both the social and economic wellbeing of individuals and pressure on public spending, in particular adult social care, is clearly a key ingredient for better policy-making and commissioning. Whilst the benefits of help-at-home schemes have not been evaluated to a great extent, evidence in the form of studies exist which evaluate the effectiveness of components typically provided as part of such schemes such as befriending, practical help and benefits advice. Befriending interventions, for example, seek to build trusting relationships between a volunteer, and the befriended (older) person and have the ability to reduce social exclusion, loneliness and depression for the older person who are gets the support, while at the same time increasing the volunteers’ self-confidence, life satisfaction, vitality, skills and employability (Caplan and Harper 2007; Mead et al. 2010; Windle et al. 2011; Ellis Paine et al. 2013). Surveys revealed that older people value practical help - such as shopping, cleaning and gardening – as highly as they value personal care, and it plays an important role for them being able continue living in their own home (Clough et al. 2007, Croucher and Lowson 2012). Of equal importance is benefits advice that reaches older people and helps them to claim benefits they are entitled to so that they are able to pay for their bills and buy their basics (Dominy and Kempson 2006). Based on those considerations and strands of evidence there is an a-priori case for the (cost-) effectiveness for help-at-home schemes. We conducted research to evaluate the costs of running an Age UK scheme in Shropshire and the outcomes it achieved. We were primarily interested in assessing whether the scheme was able to achieve potential cost savings from a public sector, in particular adult social care perspective. However, where possible we also evaluated additional potential benefits from the perspectives of individual older people and wider societal.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 15:56
Last Modified: 28 May 2024 23:17

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