of over 60s facing homelessness
RISING numbers of older
people are facing homelessness according to a national debt charity.
StepChange Debt Charity has seen a marked rise in the numbers of
people aged 60 and over seeking its help with rent and mortgage
arrears, while the amounts they owe are increasing too.
Large numbers of older people seek help from the charity with their
debts each year, usually with high levels of debt on credit cards
and overdrafts but lower levels of housing debt arrears. The charity
says that this is changing and that last year 1,837 people aged 60
and over contacted it for help with mortgage and rent arrears, up
from 1,084 in 2009.
The average rent arrears of those seeking help from the charity aged
60 and over is £825. This is up from £755 in 2009. The average
mortgage arrears of those seeking help from the charity aged 60 and
over is £3,998. This is up from £3,563 in 2009.
Over 60s still repaying mortgages
As well as rising arrears, the charity is concerned about the
numbers of older people seeking its help who still have mortgages.
Last year, 4,317 people over the age of 60 who sought its help still
had mortgages to repay, up from 2,958 in 2009.
Commenting on the figures, Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs
director at StepChange Debt Charity, said:- "Struggling to
keep a roof over your head is incredibly difficult and stressful at
any age, but even more so as you get older. Nobody wants to be
facing the prospect of facing homelessness in later life.
It is crucial that anyone struggling to keep up mortgage or rent
payments seeks help as soon as they realise that they have a problem
because there is help available. The sooner they seek help the
greater the chance that they will be able to stay in their home."
FREE family fitness fun
HUNDREDS of people of all ages will be getting
active in Liverpool this weekend.
Newsham Park in Tuebrook is hosting a FREE family sports activity
day to promote grassroots sports and encouraging people to take up a
more active lifestyle.
The Liverpool Festival of Sport which takes place on Sunday, 19 May
from 10am to 4pm will feature over 25 different sports.
Liverpool City Council's cabinet member for culture and tourism,
Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- "This is a great day out for
all the family, whatever their age or sporting ability.
It's a fantastic way to have a go at something different and learn
how to keep fit and healthy at the same time.
I would encourage as many people as possible to head off to Newsham
Park on Sunday, take advantage of what's on offer and above hall
have a fun day out." There will be free taster sessions for people of all abilities, as
well as a range of other exciting activities which will create a
real carnival atmosphere.
FREE activities include:-
calls for urgent action on support for carers
IN wake of RCGP report and
government proposals, Vitalise study points to an even deeper
problem. As the government announces proposals for a 'joined
up' health and social care service, and in the wake of a shock
report by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP),
research by disability charity Vitalise shows that millions of
family carers are putting their health at risk because they are
unaware that support is available to them.
Vitalise runs the Sandpipers centre in Southport, which provides
essential respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers
from the North West and across the UK. There are an estimated three
quarters of a million carers in the North West – around one person
in eight – with potentially tens of thousands more who do not appear
In response to the RCGP's report, which found that 40% of carers
were thought to be at risk of depression because of their caring
role, a recent Vitalise study has revealed that this may be just the
tip of the iceberg.
The Vitalise study, which collated the findings of research
conducted over the past five years, revealed that many carers don't
see themselves as carers because they are unpaid and/or see it as a
family duty. As a result they don't realise they are entitled to
statutory support and may be putting their mental and physical
wellbeing at risk.
As the population ages and age-related disabilities such as
Alzheimer's and dementia increase, older carers are increasingly
bearing the brunt of the problem. Many older carers can no longer
find work or are forced to retire and find that Carers' Allowance
ceases at retirement age.
Worse, the study found that over half of older carers had not even
received a Carer's Assessment from their GP, since they did not
regard themselves as carers. As a consequence they were unaware that
local authority funding for respite care and short breaks existed.
The research was commissioned by Vitalise and presented as evidence
that more needs to be done to reach out to carers and provide them
with vital information about their statutory entitlements.
Vitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds said:- "The RCGP
report highlights the incredible physical and mental toll that
caring for a loved one with a disability can take.
But what's worse is that the RCGP's figures are based on the carers
who do realise they need and are entitled to help. How many millions
more may be struggling on at home, unaware that their caring role
entitles them to support?
The problems people with disabilities and carers face in accessing
essential support; such as funding for respite breaks; is already
well documented, but many unpaid carers may be doubly disadvantaged
because they don't even know they are carers and therefore entitled
Clearly more needs to be done to reach out to this army of invisible
carers in the North West and across the UK, since without the escape
valve of regular time off from caring, we know only too well that
carers risk reaching breaking point and ending up sick, depressed,
and facing the very real risk of becoming disabled themselves.
Vitalise was founded exactly 50 years ago for the precise purpose of
supporting families struggling to cope with disability and restoring
hope and dignity into their lives. It would be a crying shame if the
respite breaks we lay on at Sandpipers and our other centres went
unclaimed because people in desperate need didn't even know they
were entitled to visit. The carers of the UK should not be left to
suffer in silence."
Vitalise is a national charity providing essential respite breaks
for people with disabilities; including Alzheimer's and dementia; and carers at Sandpipers in Southport and two other accessible UK
centres in Chigwell in Essex and Southampton, with 24-hour nursing
care on-call, personal support and a range of accessible excursions,
activities and entertainment.
People with disabilities and carers wanting more advice and
information about Vitalise respite breaks are requested to call:-
0303 303 0145,