SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The previous cabinet’s hope that friends, family and neighbours would help the elderly and the disabled to live independently for longer appear to have failed, according to new research published by broadcaster NOS.
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam and University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht have looked at 64 cases where social workers were brought in to assess people’s needs and found in just three, that friends and neighbours have stepped in.
In 2014, the government of the day introduced a new strategy to cut home care costs. Ministers said they hoped that by transferring responsibility for home care services to councils and slashing budgets by 40% that families, friends and neighbours would clean and shop for the frail elderly and handicapped instead.
The researchers studied the results of 64 ‘kitchen table conversations’ during which the elderly and disabled were asked by a social worker who they could draft into help. In just three cases outsiders were brought in.
‘In one case someone was asked to do some odd jobs and two others a ‘social contact’ was asked to help ‘solve problems’, the researchers say. In addition, people who approach city officials for help have often already run through the options of involving outsiders, the research showed.
Research published in 2016 by the government’s socio-cultural think-tank SCP and involving 5,000 people, showed that many don’t want to ask friends and family for help. In addition, four in 10 people do not have a network they can turn to, the SCP said. (DutchNews)