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“I’m Still Me”: Older people challenge health and care services

December 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Gordon Deuchars in Age UK London | Uncategorized

I’m Still Me: a narrative for coordinated support for older people has just been published and sets out how coordinated – or integrated – care and support looks and feels to older people and is written from their point of view.

You can download and read the full report from this webpage.

The publication, developed by older people working with UCLPartners, National Voices, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, British Geriatrics Society and partners including Age UK London who contributed an initial literature review and arranged the participation of many of the interviewees, challenges health and care services to work together and improve the outcomes older people say are most important to them – things like independence, social interaction and relational support.

I’m Still Me outlines five themes that older people say are key to coordinated support: independence, community interactions, decision making, care and support and terminology.

It also sets out a series of ‘I statements’ that summarise what older people have said that they want their support to look like. These include:

“I can maintain social contact as much as I want”
“I am recognised for what I can do rather than assumptions being made
about what I cannot”
“I am supported to be independent”

I’m Still Me discusses implications for health and social care services and asks professionals, at all levels, to reflect on whether they are truly addressing the issues identified as being important to older people.

The publication also calls for a national debate on the use of the word ‘frail’. This word is often used to define groups of older people who could be vulnerable to a crisis, however it is emphatically rejected by older people themselves because they don’t see themselves in this way. The older people involved in the development of I’m Still Me did not want their lives to be defined by their health conditions and consistently disliked the terms ‘frail’ and ‘frailty’. Health and social care services have the challenge of identifying people at risk of ‘frailty’ to ensure that they get the right support, but this needs to be in a way that is acceptable to the very population they are trying to support.

It is hoped that this publication will generate such debate, and that this conversation continues to be led by the views of older people.

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