§ Mr. Andrew Bowden
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if "Growing Older" still represents the summary of Her Majesty's Government's policies towards elderly people; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Patten
Yes. Our policies are directed towards enabling as many elderly people as possible to live normal lives in their own homes or elsewhere in the community; and additional funds are being made available through joint finance to increase and improve support services in the community for elderly people and their carers. If hospital treatment is necessary, the policy is, through comprehensive assessment and appropriate treatment and rehabilitation, to enable a speedy return to the community wherever possible.
When long stay care is required, our aim is to assure a high standard of care in acceptable surroundings. The three NHS experimental nursing homes will explore ways of creating a more home-like atmosphere than is normally possible in a hospital, and other studies are taking place to identify the best practice in residential homes. Similar initiatives are being pursued in the care of elderly people who are mentally ill.