Cumbria County Council is joining forces with Age Concern in Cumbria to help older people have their say in a national debate about the future of care and support services.
Last week, the government launched a six-month national discussion about how to create a care and support system in the future that:
•Promotes independence, choice and control for everyone who uses the care and support system
•Ensures everyone can receive the high-quality care and support they need, and that government support should be targeted at those most in need
•Is affordable for government, individuals and families in the long-term.
A rapidly ageing population means that in 20 years time, a quarter of the entire adult population will be over 65 and the number of people over 85 will have doubled. In Cumbria, the figures are even starker, with one in three people expected to be of retirement age by 2028.
The growth in the number of people with care and support needs will put tremendous pressure both on services and on the financial support that they receive through benefits and other funding streams.
Over the coming months, the county council and Age Concern will be holding a series of listening sessions across the county where older people will be able to make their views known.
Councillor Bill Wearing, cabinet member for Adult Social Care & Health in Cumbria, said: "As the makeup of society grows steadily older, we need to explore how we can adapt care and support services to meet the challenge this will bring.
"How we fund this in the future is a crucial part of the debate, but it is not just about money. We also need to question how we can help people to live independently for as long as possible.
"The listening events we are arranging in partnership with Age Concern will help to make sure older people in Cumbria are at the heart of this important debate."
Sonia Mangan, Director for Age Concern South Lakeland, said: "This is an enormously important debate for older people in Cumbria.
"Radical reform of the social care system is needed if we are to provide older people with the help and support they need to live independent lives in the future.
"If we don’t grasp the nettle now, we risk consigning future Cumbrian generations to an increasingly bleak old age."
For more information about the listening events or to take part, people should contact their local Age Concern Director:
* Barrow Age Concern Director Paul Smith –01229-831425
* Carlisle Age Concern Director Joanne Leith –01228-536673
* Eden Age Concern Director Valerie Brook –01768-863618
* Northwest Cumbria Age Concern Director Mary Bradley - 01946-66669
* South Lakeland Age Concern Director Sonia Mangan - 01539-728118
Please note: Cumbria County Council's media team telephone numbers have now changed.
Media enquiries to Mark Graham, Media Officer on 01228 226337.