01 March 2019
The most recent census found that 9.3 million people (17.6% of England's population) live in rural areas. This number will include older people and people with a disability who need to live with care support. Many people have local relatives, friends, advocates who though willing are unable to provide the regular, care support that is needed.
The major problem is that a lack of information surrounds all areas of the care sector with people living in rural areas finding information hardest to access. Sadly, without information, many people make choices that are later regretted. Sons and daughters visiting older parents realise they need to find out about local care services, to source additional facts, an older spouse wanting to support a wife or husband needs to know what to do to sustain their lifestyle. Many people believe that their local surgery will have the answers, but this is rarely the solution.
What care support is available, how much does it cost, are there any State Benefits that can be claimed, is there a local support group, what is NHS Care Support, what is social care, etc? Where do they get such information? Tens of thousands of villages have no newspaper delivery, have no local shop, no local post office, no library, so how does information get through about what is available in the care sector?
There is public media advertising about smoking, obesity and eating ‘five a day’ but no public media advertising about where to go for information when care support is needed.
There are many charities which have quality information which is easily available once you know who to contact. Similarly, there are charities with volunteer services supporting people who need their help, but who are they?
There are thousands of care providers who have a wide range of services which can be individualised and are available in rural areas but where are they found, what questions should be asked?
Knowledge is power, and steps should be taken to have a comprehensive public campaign to offer directions to both urban and rural communities with reference to care provision in the UK.