Last year, Managing Better helped 2,757 older people. This consisted of 2,150 people with sight loss or hearing loss, 376 people who are living with dementia and 204 people who have survived a stroke.
In this last year 2,471 of the people helped received a Healthy Home Assessment. The assessment has helped us to ensure that older people with sensory loss are living in warm, safe and secure homes and that we are helping them to remain as independent as possible at home.
Following the Healthy Home Assessments, we carried out £1,227,593 worth of home improvements to support independent living.
During the last year we received feedback from 789 clients and 87% of those would recommend the Managing Better service.
Stronger Together – Working in Partnership
One of the strengths of the Managing Better service is five large Welsh Charities coming together and combining their unique strengths. Our co-produced service has enabled the Managing Better caseworkers to have a great understanding of the additional support our partners can offer.
Alzheimer’s Society and the Stroke Association joined the Managing Better partnership in 2020 and during this last year we helped 376 people who are living with dementia and 204 people who have survived a stroke. Our Managing Better partnership means that partners each bring different areas of expertise together to provide that specialist support around the individual client.
During the last year we made 3,480 onward referrals for clients to receive additional specialist support, from our partners and a wide range of organisations across Wales.
Pressures: Covid-19 Backlog and Cost-of-living Crisis
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, statutory services are still dealing with a huge backlog, meaning the demand on Managing Better has been greater than ever. Despite this, Care & Repair Agencies across Wales have shown outstanding professionalism in delivering the Managing Better service.
With the increasing demand, we received 581 referrals this year from Health, as Managing Better continues to help address demand pressures on statutory and acute services.
Many older people in Wales are struggling financially with a deepening cost-of-living crisis and struggle financially to maintain their homes. In the last year, Managing Better caseworkers have been able to access £58,734 worth of benevolent funding to help older people struggling financially to maintain and improve their homes.
Every client we visit has had an offer to assess their welfare benefits entitlement and during the last year we supported 645 of our clients to receive improved income with an annual value of £2,081,096.
Technology Changing Lives
All Managing Better clients receive an offer to discuss how technology may benefit them. During the last year, we helped 1,196 clients with technology in a range of ways.
For example, we demonstrate how Alexa’s can help people in the home to keep in touch with family and friends, learn a new skill, listen to music or use their voice to control lighting.
Our partners RNIB have also provided the Managing Better caseworkers with a range of training to cover the iPad accessibility options available to people with sensory loss. This has enabled our caseworkers to continue to help people with sight loss or hearing loss to access technology and stay connected.
Hearing Loss and British Sign Language
We continue to work closely with RNID, and we have well established links with their Live Well service. This close working has enabled us to develop our understanding and expertise of hearing loss. We have seen an increase in the last year of Care & Repair Agencies installing hearing loop systems for clients, to help relieve pressure of statutory services.
We also continue to work closely with the British Deaf Association (BDA) to ensure our service is accessible to Deaf people across Wales who’s first language is British Sign Language.
Over the last year, they have supported us to engage with Deaf people across Wales by supporting our caseworkers to attend Deaf clubs to talk to Deaf people about Managing Better with the assistance of a BSL translator. The support of the BDA means we are seeing an increase in the amount of BSL translation we are using to support clients when a caseworker and/or contractor visits to carry out work.
Showcasing Our Expertise
To show the incredible benefits of the Managing Better partnership and the outstanding expertise of our caseworkers, we have produced two short films. One focuses on the partnership and features all five charities, and another showcases the dementia care we provide.
Managing Better continues to develop its expertise as a service to support older people with sensory loss to live independently in safe, warm and accessible homes. None of this would be possible without the hard work and determination of everyone involved. This includes our partners, Care & Repair Agencies, the Managing Better Caseworkers and a wide range of individuals and organisations across the third sector and statutory sectors.
If you need help from the Managing Better service, please contact your local Care & Repair Agency. To talk to us about the project and its impact in Wales, please email Stephen Thomas, National Coordinator of Managing Better: Stephen.email@example.com