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Caring in Later Life- A Matter of Social Justice - Professor Alisoun Milne - Think Kent.mp4

Over a third of the UK’s 6.5 million carers are aged 65 years and over. Older carers have a distinctive profile. They disproportionately provide intensive levels of care and tend to care for longer hours over many years. Reluctance to identify as ‘a carer’ and ask for help from services also means older carers care unaided. They are at significant risk of poor physical and mental health, reduced quality of life and poverty, and cannot be assumed un-problematically to protect their own health and well-being. These are matters of social justice. Despite increased policy emphasis on supporting family carers, few older carers come to the attention of local authorities. Even fewer see a social worker. The fact that the skill and knowledge set of social work dovetails closely with the ‘needs set’ of older carers is unacknowledged. Most older carers view themselves and their needs inside the dyadic relationship, and as a part of their life course and biography. There is evidence that the ‘process of care’ matters as much, if not more, than ‘care outcomes’; older carers value time rich assessments based on an established trust relationship with a knowledgeable professional. They also need help to think about their own needs and rights. The fact that the care contexts of older carers are increasingly characterised by complexity, chronic ill health, change, and risk underscores a need for a social work approach to assessment and support and recognition of the rights of older carers to social justice.

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