Despite an increasing number of older people in need of community care services, not many older people take advantage of direct payments for care services, where social work payments can enable older people to take control of their own care needs by giving them the power to employ their own staff or a care agency to help them remain independent.

Mr James Mowat, a user of direct payments, knows the value of these payments;  I have been using Direct Payments since 1st June 2004,and  because of this service I have enjoyed a quality of life that is almost stress free.

The concept of an individual being granted the right to manage their own care package is just tremendous.  Staff at the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living and the Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN) also proved most helpful in providing me with information re insurance and contracts of employment’

My experience has led me to the view that if you take your time to work out exactly what your needs are and have these agreed with the local authority staff then the rest is relatively easy.  There are plenty of people around to offer help and advice”.

Last year, thanks to Scottish Executive help, The Scottish Helpline for Older People started work to enable helplines to give better information about this enabling way to get community care provision.

The Scottish Helpline for Older People is now giving better information about direct payments for older people, and providing a valuable first port of call for people who have home based community care enquiries.  Along with the Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network, we have produced a new booklet which we are sending to many older people, and we also send out written information and videos or DVDs about direct payments, and refer interested callers to the best local source of further help where appropriate.

Over the coming months we know that the approach we have adopted will mean that Scotland’s older people can be guaranteed the same quality of basic information about direct payments from trained information workers.

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