Fostering scheme for the elderly

  • A new scheme is being trailed in Leicester which will see elderly people being taken into family homes, similar to child fostering.

    The carers will be paid £224 a week and Leicester City Council will also pay for any modifications to their homes.

    Age UK have warned that this could potentially vulnerable people be placed in homes with strangers. The council, however, have said that all carers would be vetted before being approved and the care would be closely monitored, reports the BBC. 

    The council has said that fostering is not intended to replace care homes, however in October last year they confirmed plans to close or sell off eight of its care homes.

    Rita Patel, assistant city mayor for adult social care, said: "It's not suitable for everybody but for people who want to be in a family environment, who want to be taken care of on an individual basis, it's a fantastic scheme."

    The scheme is an extension of the council's Shared Lives service, under which people with dementia, disabilities or mental health problems can live with foster families, stay for a short respite break or go for daytime support.

    Currently 30 people are in long-term Shared Lives placements and the number of staff has increased from three and a half posts to seven so that the number of placements can be doubled.

    Alex Fox from Shared Lives Plus, a national organisation that supports the scheme, said: "It's a way for people to live in an ordinary family home, or to use an ordinary family home, and be part of the community. It's also very much about friendship, having fun and an ordinary family life, which people sometimes miss out on."

    Already there are 8,000 Share Lives carers in the UK who have been recruited through 152 local schemes.

    Leicestershire Age UK told the Leicester Mercury that the scheme should be approached with a "degree of caution as it would involve placing potentially vulnerable people in homes with strangers".

    Mr Fox has said that the Shared Lives Plus schemes are monitored by the Care Quality Commission and that abuse scandals often involved "people locked away." Share Lives, however, allows people to keep a network of friends and family, which keeps them safe.

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