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Community Support & Health Services

Older people in Bristol have access to appropriate health, social care and wellbeing services.

A person’s physical and mental health status influences their quality of life, their ability to work and to participate in society. Health and support services are vital to maintaining health and independence of older people in the community.  

Community support and health services are in many ways an overarching theme for an Age-friendly Bristol. We see examples across the themes that are ultimately aimed at improving the health and quality of life for older people, such as work to enable people to continue to live more independent lives in their own homes, the work to tackle the issue of social isolation, and the work to keep older people more engaged with their communities through volunteering, intergeneration and social activity. 

In the current economic climate, the problem of creating effective social care within existing budgets is a common issue for most councils.  Social care for older people is under a great deal of pressure and fewer people are receiving traditional social care support, which in turn puts a strain on carers.  

Factors affecting Community Support & Health Services

Mental health

20% of people over 65 living in the community and 40% of older people living in care homes are affected by depression. Depression and poor mental health remains an issue for older people and they have very low uptakes of local psychological therapies. Bristol Ageing Better has also recently commissioned a range of wellbeing projects with the aim of improving people’s mental health and improving the take up of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies IAPT services by older people.

Marginalised groups

People in marginalised groups are at greater risk of experiencing inequalities in mental health outcomes, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, disabled people, and people who have had contact with the criminal justice system, among others. BAME households are more likely to live in poorer or over-crowded conditions, increasing the risks of developing mental health problems. 


8% of 2017 Quality of Life survey respondents aged 50+ reported that their disability prevented them from leaving their home when they wanted to, while 4% reported that their caring responsibilities prevented them from doing this. Both disability and caring responsibilities also emerged as factors preventing involvement in the community in the 2018 Bristol Older People’s Forum (BOPF) survey. When asked what they feel prevents them from contributing to their community or doing as much as they would like to, 7% of the respondents who answered this question said disability while 2% said providing care for others. 

3,183 people over 65 receive support through Bristol Council’s adult social care team with 1,119 receiving support in their own homes.

Accessing Services 

Older people have expressed frustration with accessing GPs, especially around appointments and the increasing expectation of using online booking. The Care Quality Commission rated all primary care practices in Bristol as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ for the care of older people and Bristol was above average within the GP patient survey relating to access. 

Older people have told us that they like speaking to staff and feel that automation is changing this dynamic. People also want to have continuity, to be able to see someone who knows them and knows their circumstances.  

Key actions 

  • Work with Adult Social Care to develop a strengths-based approach to supporting people, starting from what people are themselves interested in, their own skills and contributions.

  • Pilot, evaluate and embed new and effective proactive approaches to help older people stay independent and help themselves.

  • Work to ensure that all older people in Bristol have access to a social prescribing style service.

  • Consult older people on how they would like Primary Care services – in particular appointments to see medical staff – organised and made available to older people.

  • Health and social care agencies across Bristol to jointly develop and implement a single record of core health and social care information. 

  • Bristol City Council to deliver further additional investment in home care provision to improve supply and help providers recruit and retain quality staff.

  • Bristol City Council’s Public Health Department to develop work that supports older people leaving hospital to regain their independence as much as possible.

  • Active Ageing Bristol to coordinate a menu of citywide physical activity opportunities, available as an exit route to social prescribing activity in the community. 


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Age-friendly Bristol

An age-friendly city is a city that encourages active ageing by optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance the quality of life as people age - World Health Organisation

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The Partnership

Age-friendly Bristol is a partnership made up of Bristol Ageing Better, Age UK Bristol and Bristol City Council.

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The World Health Organisation have developed a framework for tackling such wide ranging issues in a way which is designed to improve the quality of life of older people – the Age-friendly City network.

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