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Independent Living Service is national case study

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Published by Tracey Errington for Eden Housing Association Limited in Care and Support and also in Communities, Education, Environment, Health, Housing

Eden Independent Living Service becomes national case study

The Eden Independent Living  service provided by Eden Housing Association (EHA) has become a national case study for promoting new and effective ways to enhance the choices of older people. At the same time, the demand and range of services offered by Eden Independent Living, continues to grow.

The case study written for Housing Learning and Improvements Network (Housing LIN) highlights how “this service offers an innovative approach to targeted practical and social support, home care, community alarm and telecare, handy person service, decorating and garden maintenance.” It has been well received in the industry and has also featured at national housing conferences.

Eden Housing Association transformed the way it delivers housing support services following a review in 2011 with the subsequent launch of Eden Independent Living in 2012 with lead partner Eden Country Care.

EHA recognised the opportunity to deliver support to a wider independent living audience in Eden, based on research and key data. Firstly, the Eden population of 65+ Eden was set to rise 59% by 2030, (with the 85+ population rising by 90% over the same period), this is the highest increase in Cumbria. Secondly, the fact that 75% of pensioner households in Eden are owner occupied indicated a large number of households that may need access to services that support their independence.  Thirdly, government funding was cut and a new way to deliver effective and efficient services was needed.                                                                                                                                    

Jeremy Porteus, Director of the Housing Learning and Improvement Network, stated: “This case study is an exemplar of good practice, featuring the critical success factors that have enabled Eden Housing Association to tackle rural exclusion and isolation experienced by older people in need of care and support in Cumbria”.

He added: “I was impressed by Eden’s approach to listening to the needs and wishes of their older residents and those in the wider community and how this affected change within the organisation. In particular, how it resulted in a great independent living offer to their customers – bringing together social support, home care, community alarm and telecare, handyperson service, decorating and garden maintenance. In a market that increasingly strives to deliver better outcomes in the most cost effective way, the case study captures the defining benefits of an integrated approach.  I believe the lessons learned can inspire others to attain similar achievements.”

Now running for two years, the service is going from strength to strength, providing a one-stop-shop for people in Eden looking for care, support and practical help. Referrals come from Adult Social care/NHS, but new enquiries are hugely driven by the Independent Living team getting out in the district and by word of mouth from the older community.

Within the first 18 months 75% of enquiries became users, with many of the 200+ customers taking up at least one of the services. On average ten new customers sign up to the service every month, with a 50/50 split between those in rented/own homes. The Handy Person Service proved very popular and from customer feedback, a gardening service was introduced in 2013. Other well used services include the Community Alarm and the care/support packages available.

Carolyn Greenhalgh, Assistant Director Housing Support at EHA said “There are 33,000 members of Housing LIN which means a huge number of organisations have been able to see how we have transformed and adapted to funding changes and the rural demographic we work with. We are a small Association working in a rural community that has the lowest population density of any district in the UK. Delivering the right services is challenging, but we have worked hard to create a model that works in Eden and is replicable in other areas.”

 Eden Housing Association has welcomed numerous visits from other associations from across the UK who are keen to see how the service is delivered with a view to adapting and developing in their own areas.

To find out more on the Eden Independent Living team contact Miranda Lowther on 01768  861 468 or visit www.edenindependentliving.org.uk

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