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The Leveson Centre for the study of Ageing, Spirituality and Social Policy
 
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Ageing and social policy :
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Ageing: Scientific aspectsAgeing: Scientific aspects
A House of Lords Report of an inquiry chaired by Lord Sutherland was published in July 2005. It examined how the Government can apply scientific research to improve health in old age and enable older people to live longer in their own homes in safety and comfort. The report is available from The Stationery Office, ISBN 0-10-400730-3 or at www.parliament.uk/hlscience

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Recruitment and Sampling: qualitative research with older people
Recruitment and sampling are important in social gerontology because they directly affect research findings. This collection of papers from The Centre for Ageing and Biographical Studies at The Open University and The Centre for Policy on Ageing describes five quite different studies of ageing and intergenerational relationships. The methodologies and sample sizes range from a micro-level study of relationships between a small group of friends to a multi-method approach incorporating interviews with people identified in a larger survey. Some common themes emerge: vulnerability and ethics, the role of the gatekeeper, under- and over-researched groups, sensitive topics and the role of language and older people as research partners. Available price £10.00, ISBN 1-901097-95-1.

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Ageing: Scientific aspectsThe Complete Care Home Guide and The Brief Care Home Guide
The charity Counsel and Care was funded by a Section 64 grant from the Department of Health to produce a guide which aims to answer commonly asked questions about choosing a care home, paying for care, living in a care home and how to make a complaint. It was intended to be of use to older people, their relatives, friends and professional advisers and is the result of collaboration between Counsel and Care, specialists in the Department of Health and the voluntary, private and statutory sectors.

The final result was two guides - a comprehensive A4 version and a brief A5 booklet. Demand has been so great that at present the guides are only available to download from the website www.counselandcare.org.uk For details of a future reprint please write to Counsel and Care, Twyman House, 16 Bonny Street, London, NW1 9PG.

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From Welfare to Well-being
This is a major report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on housing, money and care for older people. It rejects the traditional service-led agenda and focuses on making changes to enable older people to have more resources and control to make their own decisions. It urges the promotion of inclusion and active ageing for the whole older population rather than managing dependency. For further details see www.jrf.org.uk or phone 01904 629241.

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Homing in on housing: a study of housing decisions of people aged over 60
(Roger Clough, Mary Leamy and Les Bright, Eskrigge Social Research, 2003, 58 pages, ISBN 0-954569-70-9, £9.00.)

Housing is one of the most important aspects of an older person's life - but how do older people make their decisions? In this excellent report on a three-year research project by the Department of Applied Social Science at Lancaster University and the charity Counsel and Care, the housing pathways of nearly 1,000 older people from both urban and rural areas were analysed in order to give policy makers a clearer picture of the true housing needs of older people.

A key finding of the project was that older people are fed up with being asked for their opinion and then nothing being done - 'you may be listening but can you hear?' The use of older people themselves to carry out many of the interviews was a great success. They were given training and, as one of them commented, 'older people are more at ease talking to people in the older age group'.

As usual the research found that older people often made decisions without knowing all the facts. Many didn't appreciate the difference between sheltered housing and residential care and lacked appropriate up-to-date information. Many resolutely guarded their independence by stating that they had no intention of moving! Others complained that their accommodation was designed by younger people who 'don't see the far end of the picture' and often found it difficult to get alterations carried out to enable them to stay at home.

The overall messages of this report are that people's homes become more, rather than less important as they age, that a move in later life can be daunting, and that being near family and friends and living in a friendly and secure neighbourhood are important. Many older people move because of a fall or failing health and mobility but other important factors are the individual's personality, social network and finances. I was particularly interested to read that many older people are reluctant to move to a retirement community but some are pleasantly surprised when they do so.

I found this report easy to read with its helpful margin quotations to guide one through and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone concerned about housing in later life either as a provider or consumer.

Alison M Johnson (Centre Consultant)

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Individuals in Need: guidelines for grant makers
The guidelines presented in this booklet have been compiled by the Association of Charity Officers and draw on the experience of the diverse range of charitable trusts which they represent. They are a set of standards which funders will aim for when engaged in the process of helping older people and their families who need advice or financial assistance as they age. Many funds are specific to particular trades, professions or industries and the Occupational Benevolent Funds Alliance (OBFA) now has a website (www.joblinks.org.uk) and helpline (01707 651777) where you can find more information about specific funds. Phone the helpline or e-mail info@aco.uk.net for copies of the guidelines.

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Pensions: challenges and choices - a response submitted on behalf of the Diocese of Sheffield
Revd Kevin Barnard, the Bishop of Sheffield's Adviser on Issues related to Ageing has written a response on behalf of the diocese to the First Report of the Pensions Commission. Whilst he congratulates the Commission on a clear and balanced presentation of the present and projected situation he raises a number of important issues such as whether the case for a shift in responsibility for pension provision has been made or simply taken for granted. He also raises important ethical questions concerning the use of foreign labour to augment the workforce in health and social care and the use of large-scale overseas investment to support pension funds. Contact 0114 2882149 for copies of the response.

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