Working with Older People: Guidelines for Running Discussion Groups and Influencing Practice

Working with Older People: Guidelines for Running Discussion Groups and Influencing Practice

Working with Older People: Guidelines for Running Discussion Groups and Influencing Practice

Working with Older People: Guidelines for Running Discussion Groups and Influencing Practice

Synopsis

Current government policy on public services, academics and organisations of older people are all highlighting the importance of new ways of working which support the active participation of older individuals in the governance of their affairs. Working with older people offers a much-needed guide to the promotion of participation through discussion groups.This jargon-free, hands-on resource covers the following areas:launching a discussion group;recruiting participants;preparing for meetings;running meetings;influencing practice. Each can be used as a stand-alone guide. Together they form a complete set of guidelines to establish a project from scratch.

Excerpt

The aim of this publication is to provide guidelines and examples of good
practice to those wishing to involve very frail older people in current and future
service development.

Much is said about involving older people in all areas that impinge on their lives. Listening to the voices of service users, including older people, was integral to the 1990 National Health Service and Community Care Act. the recently released National Service Framework for Older People echoes these principles, promising to ensure that “older people have a voice themselves in their own treatment and in the overall services provided” (DoH, 2001, Short Summary, p 2). With a somewhat broader focus, the pilot programme Better Government for Older People (BGOP), supported by central and local government and launched in 1998, has sought to improve public services for older people by “listening to their views and encouraging and recognising their contribution” (Hayden and Boaz, 2000, p 2). An increasing amount of work has subsequently been done in various parts of the uk in terms of participatory activities. Nevertheless, this research is still very minimal, bearing in mind the current and growing number of very elderly people.

Often, one of the major stumbling blocks faced by agencies wishing to enable older people to take a more proactive role in joint discussion of services is the very simple question ‘How do we do it?’ This guide is meant for those genuinely seeking to explore ways of involving very frail older people: those same individuals who are known to be the greatest users of services but who have the least opportunity to comment on them.

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