Clock is ticking on getting to grips with elderly care crisis

83-year-old Iris Beadnell from New Farnley, Leeds who has been matched with Ken Watson through a new Leeds scheme called Silverlinks which matches elderly people who are struggling to know whether to downsize or move into sheltered accommodation with other elderly people who have gone through the same experience.

83-year-old Iris Beadnell from New Farnley, Leeds who has been matched with Ken Watson through a new Leeds scheme called Silverlinks which matches elderly people who are struggling to know whether to downsize or move into sheltered accommodation with other elderly people who have gone through the same experience.

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Initiatives like successful Leeds scheme hold the key.

IT has long been known that the fact we’re living for longer will place an increasing strain on essential services. But the speed at which it’s happening is still alarming.

Research this week suggests it will take just three years for the number of older people in need of support to outstrip the number of family members able to provide it. By 2030, it’s estimated there will be more than two million people aged 65 and over with no child living nearby to support them.

Given that a place at a nursing home costs up to £36,000 a year, it begs the question as to what will happen to those who can’t afford it.

It’s why schemes such as Silverlinks are so important. Effectively an agony aunt service run for the elderly and by the elderly in Leeds, it gives people the support and confidence they need to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.

If we are to cope with the mounting care crisis, then initiatives like this hold the key. And the good news is that there are lots of them already in existence.

But as one volunteer, Ken Watson, says: “The support is there, but it’s often so fragmented that people don’t know where to look or give up trying.”

It is why the Government needs to act now to throw its weight and funding behind such community-based care networks. The clock is ticking.

Bench to honour the work of tireless Ivy

IF there is one person who would have had a lot to say about the state of elderly care it’s Ivy Needham.

The well-known Leeds stalwart, who was awarded an MBE for leading the fight for the Maxwell pensioners in the 1990s, died last year at the age of 88.

Now the inspirational campaigner, who battled for scores of good causes, will be forever remembered with a new commemorative bench in the city.

The seat will offer a place for people to rest – even though Ivy herself didn’t seem to do much of that in her tireless fight for justice.

It’s welcome recognition of a woman whose efforts show just what can be achieved – whatever age you are.

1990: Vinnie and Batts in action against Luton Town.

YEP Says: Our man Vinnie is a coup for Leeds