ELDERLY PEOPLE. Services for elderly people are provided by statutory and voluntary bodies to help them to live at home whenever possible. ( Only about 5 per cent of the elderly over 65 live in institutional accommodation. ) These services may include advice and help given by social workers, domestic help, the provision of meals in the home, sitters-in, night attendants and laundry services as well as day centers, luncheon clubs and recreational facilities. Appropriate adaptations to the home can overcome problems of restricted mobility, and a wide range of environmental aids is available for people with impaired hearing or vision.
Dispersed alarm systems have been developed to help elderly housebound people obtain assistance in an emergency. In some areas “ good neighbour “ and friendly visiting services are arranged by the local authority or a voluntary organization. Many local authorities provide free or subsidized travel to elderly people within their areas. Social services authorities also provide residential home care for the elderly and infirm and register and inspect home run by voluntary organizations or privately.
As part of their responsibility for public housing, local authorities provide accommodation specially designed for elderly people; some of these developments have resident wardens. Housing associations and private builders also build this type of accommodation.
DISABLED PEOPLE. Britain has an estimated 6 million adults with one or more disabilities, of whom around 400,000 or 7 per cent in some kind of communal establishment. Local social services authorities provide a wide range of personal social services for disabled people to help with social rehabilitation and adjustment to disability. They are also required to establish the number of disabled people in their area and to publicize services, which may include counseling on personal and social problems arising from disability; occupational, educational, social and recreational facilities, either at day centers or elsewhere; adaptations to homes ( such as ramps for wheelchairs, and ground-floor toilets ); aids to daily living; the delivery of cooked meals; and domestic or care attendant help. In cases of special need, help may be given with the installation of a telephone or a television set. For severely disabled people residential accommodation or respite care may be available for those able to look after themselves. Some authorities provide free or subsidized travel for disabled people on public transport, and they are encouraged to provide special access facilities to public buildings. Special government regulations cover the provision of access for disabled people in the construction of new buildings.
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