Direct payments have been available to older people receiving community care services in the UK since February 2000. However, scepticism remains about older people's desire and ability to use direct payments and take-up so far has been low.
Drawing on interviews with older people, local authority care managers and direct payments support service workers, this topical report looks at how older people use direct payments and how they make them work. It considers the role of direct payments support services and local authority care managers in making direct payments a real option for older people. The report is particularly valuable in reflecting the views and experiences of older people themselves.
Heather Clark is a Senior Lecturer in sociology and social policy in the School of Social Studies, University College Chichester. She has extensive experience of undertaking research with and involving older people and is lead author of Going home: Older people leaving hospital; 'That bit of help': The high value of low level preventative services for older people and Piloting choice and control for older people. Helen Gough was a Research Assistant in the School of Social Studies, University College Chichester. Ann Macfarlane is an independent Disability Quality Consultant focusing on independent living and rights for disabled people of all ages.
Contents: Executive summary; Introduction; Policy context; The research; Discovering and choosing direct payments; Using direct payments to employ personal assistants; Using direct payments to purchase agency services; Restrictions and flexibility in the use of direct payments; Managing the money; Meeting the administrative and financial demands; Value of direct payments to older people; The age divide; Independent living; The care managers' perspectives; The importance of support services in making direct payments work for older people; Funding of support services; Conclusions.