more support for elderly in rural cumbria

Rory has asked government Ministers what steps are being taken to enable older people living in rural areas to remain in their own homes as they grow older, in a show of support for Age UK’s ‘Over the Hill’ campaign, which aims to highlight the challenges faced by older people in rural areas and focuses on some ground-breaking approaches that have been introduced across England to deal with them.

Rory is concerned that older people living in rural Cumbria are included in local decision-making and initiatives that affect them, and will this Winter be supporting practical initiatives that highlight the very severe needs of the elderly living in rural locations: he will help to launch Cumbria Community Foundation’s ‘Winter Warmth Appeal’ next week, and the Abbeyfield Society’s ‘Companionship at Christmas’ initiative running in Wigton over Christmas this year, where free overnight stays and delicious lunches will be offered to older people who would otherwise be alone over the festive season.

Rory said: “In Parliament, I am constantly arguing the case for Cumbria and fighting for recognition of the unique challenges we face here – challenges that are magnified when you are elderly and living in an extremely rural location. The Over the Hill campaign is very important in highlighting issues of sparsity and lack of access to services, as well as the serious problems of loneliness and isolation. Retaining their independence and ability to remain living at home are what the majority of older people hope for, but we need to do more to support this wish. I am delighted to be supporting this campaign.”

In response to Rory’s lobbying, Minister Andrew Stunnell – who visited Crosby Ravensworth earlier this year to look at its affordable housing scheme – said: “Government is committed to supporting older people to live independently at home. We have protected funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant, which delivers adaptations that enable disabled people to live comfortably and independently in their homes – and the budget will increase from £169 million in 2010-11 to £185 million in 2014-15. We are also investing £1.5 million in the FirstStop information and advice service, which aims to help older people make informed decisions about their housing, care and support options, and to help them maintain independent living in later life. The Goverment has also provided £51 million funding for HandyPersons schemes over the spending review period to deliver small home repairs and adaptations.”

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