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
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.
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.
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.
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.