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'Low level elderly support is cost-effective'

14th November 2006

A lobby group formed to pursue the interests of older people will hold a conference this week to discuss the importance of investing in early interventions for the elderly.

According to Counsel and Care, preventative services and early interventions – or 'low-level' services – can reap significant cost-benefits, the charity has said.

For example, using home care effectively can not only result in savings on residential or hospital care, but can also allow older people to remain in their own homes for longer, with the added security of having their wellbeing monitored.

Counsel and Care is calling for more government spending on advice, information and advocacy for older people as well as the extension of community care and home care technology, such as telecare.

"We know that older people want to stay in their own homes and maintain their independence," said Stephen Burke, chief executive of Counsel and Care.

"However, we also know that there are frailer older people for whom the care home environment is the only setting where they can receive the support that they actually need.

"Low level services are not just about health and social care – they are about the way that older people can remain active and participate in their local area," he added.

Mr Burke added that improvements could be made by raising the expectations of older people, leading them to demand more from services and insist on being able to exercise choice and control.