Council Scheme to Foster Elderly People

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Leicester City Council is to try a fostering scheme in Leicester where families will be paid to look after elderly people in their homes.

Carers are to be paid a rate of £224 a week and Leicester City Council will pay for modifications to their homes.

The charity Age UK warned that potentially vulnerable people could be placed in homes with strangers. However, the council said that carers would be vetted before being approved and care would be closely monitored.

In October, Leicester City Council confirmed plans to close or sell off eight of its care homes but said that fostering is not intended to replace care homes. Rita Patel, assistant city mayor for adult social care said, “It’s not suitable for everybody but for people who want to be in a family environment, who want to be taken care of on an individual basis, it’s a fantastic scheme.”

The scheme will be an extension of the council’s Shared Lives service, under which people with dementia, disabilities or mental health problems can live with foster families, stay for a short respite break, or go for daytime support.

The council currently has 30 people in long-term Shared Lives placements, and has increased its staff from three and a half posts to seven, so it can support double the number of placements. Alex Fox, from the Shared Lives Plus organisation said, “it’s a way for people to live in an ordinary family home, or to use an ordinary family home, and be part of the community. It’s also very much about friendship, having fun and an ordinary family life, which people sometimes miss out on.” Although, critics have warned that the scheme could place vulnerable adults at risk in homes with strangers,  Mr Fox said Shared Lives Plus schemes are monitored by CQC. He said abuse scandals often involved “people locked away”, while Shared Lives allows people to keep a network of friends and family, which keeps them safe.

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