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Caring Across the Generations: Families in Transition - June 4, 2008
The Family and Parenting Institute held this seminar to debate key issues around government and family policy. At a time when the present government has started an open debate about the long term future of England's care and support system, this timely seminar discussed responses to the current Department of Health consultation on care, support and independence. The seminar opened up various areas of debate on issues around cross generational care including:
- What contribution do the different generations in families make to caring for each other?
- How can each generation be supported to thrive with the benefit of mutually dependent love, care and support?
- How can policy encompass the diversity of older people and family formations?
- What can services contribute to the quality of relationships in families across generations?
- What additional support is needed for families with special circumstances?
Family support in later life: Is Britain becoming less caring? - Karen Glaser – Institute of Gerontology, King's College, London
Caring across the generations: complex situations - Dr Sharon Pettle - Consultant Clinical Psychologist & Family Psychotherapist, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
Caring Across the Generations and the Department of Health's open debate on social care - Stephen Burke - Chief Executive, Counsel and Care
Key points raised
- Developing transgenerational family policy is very timely as we see rapid changes in demographics and family formation in the UK and Europe.
- Research shows that in the UK (and Europe) we are living longer, unhealthier lives. We are also working longer.
- More people are likely to become carers and/or need care at some point in their lives.
- The rate of increase in the proportion of older people living alone has slowed down. People living with a spouse or long-term partner are likely to live longer.
- A decrease in the birthrate is not necessarily linked to lack of family support and care for older people.
- Older people living alone receive more care from their adult children than older couples.
- There are more families that span across four generations.
- In some families where there are limited family relationships, friends are as important and the fact that they don't have a blood tie doesn't make the relationships any less significant.
The discussion at the seminar pointed possible ways forward in formulating policy, practice and services that span the best of current children's and adult services.
- Ideas and policies can be transferred from children and young people's policy to adult services and vice versa. We still need to make the transition from children's services to adult services more co-ordinated, particularly where people have more than one role eg a disabled child who is also a young carer.
- We're seeing progress in terms of disabled adults and older people with personal budgets. You could make the same argument in terms of early education funding so that parents get given funding for 12½ hours early years education on the same principle as a personal budget works.
- It's important to hang on to the idea that social workers and other professionals in this area should have training both in relation to work with adults & elderly and with children & young people.
Family and Parenting Institute is the operating name of the National Family and Parenting Institute (NFPI). NFPI is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales. Registered company number: 3753345. Registered Charity No: 1077444. VAT Registration No. 833 0243 65. Registered Address: 430 Highgate Studios, 53-79 Highgate Road, London, NW5 1TL