Health chiefs and a charity have welcomed plans to help support Hartlepool’s growing elderly population.
The Mail reported yesterday how more than a quarter of people in the town are expected to be aged over 65 in just eight years as we continue to live longer.
And the proportion of people over 85 is also set to increase by about half by 2025 compared to just 10 years earlier.
Hartlepool’s director of public health Paul Edmondson-Jones focuses on the need to support older people in his first annual report which will go before Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board on Monday.
Age UK Teesside says it is working with Hartlepool Borough Council to address some of the issues faced by the ageing population, including a Befriending Service Network in Hartlepool.
Chief executive Anne Sykes said: “The service aims to encourage them to go out more and make friends, leaving them less likely to deteriorate in health.
“Age UK Teesside welcomes the Director of Public Health’s commitment to older people and knows that there is good work already being done in Hartlepool.
“There are approximately 1,765 lonely older people in Hartlepool and the funding of these projects are vital to keeping them active and well.
“We have to be pro-active in addressing this issue and Hartlepool are taking this seriously.”
Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group says the NHS has been planning for the increase for a number of years.
A spokesman said: “One of the CCG’s key priorities is caring for the frail elderly and as Paul Edmondson-Jones has highlighted there are some great projects in Hartlepool.
“We have developed a range of initiatives that are having a positive impact on the support provided to elderly residents.”
Initiatives include working with care homes to deliver training and support to care home staff to help residents stay happy and healthy.
The CCG added: “We have also increased access to technology in care homes, to support staff to make quick decisions and link into the most appropriate services.
“Health and social care services are working closely to improve support for people leaving hospital, so they can be discharged quickly when it is medically safe to do so. We are also developing the skills, knowledge and services within the community to prevent people needing to go into hospital wherever we can, as we know people want to stay at home.”
The CCG has created a care co-ordinator role to help GP practice support frail elderly people by linking in to other services in the community.