Our recent case study of IMPACTAgewell®, developed by the Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP), showed how the project was supporting older people to understand and navigate the different health and social care services in their local area. Here, Sarah McLaughlin from MEAAP talks about just two of the many older people that the project has helped.
Older people need support and information from a range of health and social care providers, and it can be quite complicated to navigate all of these different systems.
In Northern Ireland, we developed the IMPACTAgewell® project to bring all of these different services together, and support people to take ownership of their own healthcare. Read our case study on the project to find out more.
Our evaluation of the project showed positive returns on investment for both social and financial measures, and we’ve now secured funding for the next five years. We’re planning how to make the project sustainable in the long-term and roll it out to other areas
But by far the biggest difference that we’ve seen the project make is the direct impact that it’s had on people’s lives, empowering them to engage with care providers and take control of their wellbeing and their health. We’ve helped many people to navigate difficult situations and end up in a better place. Raymond and Etta are just two of them.
Raymond and his wife Etta have been married for over 60 years and live in Northern Ireland. Raymond, who is 90-years-old, had been caring for Etta until he had a fall earlier in the year, breaking his hip and going into hospital. While he was there, social services arranged for Etta to go into a local nursing home to be cared for until he was back on his feet.
A few months after recovering from his fall and now back at home, Raymond joined the IMPACTAgewell® programme. He wanted Etta to return home, but her progressing dementia meant that the care home was the best place for her. Having always been together for over 60 years, this understandably made Raymond very upset and he found it difficult to cope.
The IMPACTAgewell® team were able to help Raymond find a way through. Before COVID-19, he had started attending a local lunch club and meeting up with others. Following lockdown restrictions, Raymond was in regular contact with the IMPACTAgewell® team. They linked him up with a telephone service for older people called Good Morning Ballymena, and he was given the information for Silverline – a confidential helpline for older people – if he needed more support.
IMPACTAgewell® also referred Raymond to a local mobility programme, STEPS, to help him stay mobile, informed him about the lone pensioner rates relief, and contacted his GP to get him medication to help cope with his sadness in missing Etta. They also helped him to liaise with social services with regards to family issues.
Raymond now goes to the care home that Etta is in whenever he gets a chance. He stands in the garden and sees her through the window, feeling more content that she is settled and well looked after.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly hard on couples like Raymond and Etta. Although we can’t bring them together at the moment, it is gratifying to know that we are helping to keep Raymond going through this difficult time.
Names have been changed for privacy.