Borders older adult day services revamp

Tuesday 4th June 2019

A programme to replace day centres for older people with support to help them get involved in their local communities is being extended by the Scottish Borders health and social care partnership.

Rob McCulloch-Graham, the partnership’s chief officer, says there is a “growing preference for other more effective, localised options.”

Under the new proposals, being considered today at a meeting of the partnership’s governing board, specialist link workers will offer ‘practical and emotional support’ to help older people identify and get involved in local groups and community life.

Health leaders on the partnership say day centres will only be closed when suitable alternatives are in place.

Figures show traditional day centres in the region have declined in popularity even as the number of over-65s has risen.

As a result, the partnership is looking to replace the traditional 9-4 day centre model with a new approach in which each area gets a dedicated co-ordinator and link worker who hold a case load of people who are in need of day-time opportunities.

After being rolled out successfully in the Berwickshire area, it’s now to be expanded across the whole of the Borders.

Five day care centres with 43 attendees are to be affected by the changes, with the possibility of job losses if workers cannot be redeployed elsewhere in the council or Scottish Borders Cares.

Similar charity-run social centres will not be affected by the changes and will continue to operate.

Officials at the partnership, who had been asked to save £400,000 in spending on day centre services, believe the change will lead to a ‘better model of support’.

Mr McCulloch-Graham said: “[The new approach] was already proving successful for other client groups and we were confident that it would be equally beneficial for older adults.

“It would also build on and expand the work of our Community Capacity Building team who co-ordinate a wide range of popular activities and volunteering opportunities across the region, and our ongoing aim of providing a more community-based day opportunity model.

“Following on from the introduction of the approach in Berwickshire, we are now asking the Executive to note our intention to proceed with the expansion across the rest of the Borders, which will include meeting with day service users and their families to explain more about our plans and the benefits that the introduction of a new type of service could bring to them.”