With a life expectancy above the national average, the opportunity for a longer, more active and fulfilled life is there for the taking for the people of Worcestershire.
The average life expectancy in Worcestershire is 83.9 years for women and 79.9 years for men.
However, the average healthy life expectancy, which is closely linked to lifestyle factors, is 67.2 years for women and 65.7 years for men. With an ageing population, this gap highlights the financial pressure on adult social care which is one of the UK’s biggest challenges, with the money invested in this area nationally increasing year-on-year.
Worcestershire is no exception and continues to follow the national trend, with nearly £140 million allocated from this year’s budget to help meet the county’s ever-rising demand for adult social care – more than 40 per cent of the Council's annual budget.
Never has it been more important for residents to consider their options for future care needs and associated costs. There are currently around 1,400 people across the county who receive either nursing or residential care funded by Worcestershire County Council, at an average cost of £655 per week. It is estimated that a further 1,300 residents fund this care themselves.
The County Council is working with Professor Peter Gore and applying his LifeCurveTM tool, to help empower social care staff and individuals. This enables intervention at the most appropriate point to provide tailored help and support to clients, to ensure they remain independent for longer.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care, said: “This new approach will help our dedicated social care staff and their clients work together to really tailor care and support plans to their individual circumstances, and plan for their current and future needs, whether this is in a care facility or at home with support.
"We want to help empower residents to be able to live independently for longer, and it's important that we all know what options we have if our care needs change. The County Council is committed to providing the information and support needed to enable residents to plan ahead."
Professor Gore’s research found measurable links between positive attitude and maintaining flexibility, endurance and strength. This has led to the development of the LifeCurveTM app, which measures a person’s prolonged ability to do activities of daily living (ADLs) independently. , These ADLs include bathing, dressing, cooking, walking, shopping and using steps.
Professor Peter Gore, University of Newcastle and CEO ADL Smartcare, added: “Our research has shown that the way we grow old is not predetermined and neither is it genetic. We are all able to influence how we grow older and we can change the way we age through the choices we make.
"People think we can’t do anything about ageing, but as individuals and care givers we need to change how we think because actually, it’s a really positive story about our future prospects.”
Councillor Hardman, alongside social care practitioners, are hosting tailored engagement events for residents throughout the summer, across the county.
The ‘Making a Decision’ events are designed to help residents kick-start the conversation around what you can do to stay independent, the tools and technology available to provide support, and discussing with friends and family your individual preferences regarding care, support and treatment in later life.
For more information and further event dates, please visit the making decisions about your future pages of the Council's website.