02 Information and Advice
We said: we will encourage organisations providing information and advice to older people to gain accreditation under the National Standards.
The Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers (SNSIAP): A Quality Assurance Framework (2009) is the accepted quality framework for agencies providing advice on housing, money, debt and welfare benefits issues. The government-funded scheme reopened in November 2016 and in June 2017 the first four advice agencies to receive accreditation under the Scottish Government’s new quality assurance model were announced. √
We said: we will pilot a housing options approach for older people.
We included this as an action in the Joint Housing Delivery Plan for Scotland and a project group was set up. This includes the Scottish Government, Housing Options Scotland, Age Scotland and Inclusion Scotland. Together we have been gathering information from older and disabled people to identify what information they want from a Housing Options service. Partners are continuing to work with older and disabled people to gather current information. In progress
We said: we will review information for older people on the House Key website.
We reviewed the website and it became clear that the information held was readily available elsewhere so in 2015 it was agreed that the website would no longer be maintained. √
We said: we will review information and advice on housing and support for older people.
We mapped out the high level national housing advice provision. We recognised that it was overly complicated to map local provision and concluded that the important thing was to ensure individuals had access to advice, rather than focus on where it originated. √
The Age Scotland helpline provides access to information, friendship and advice through a confidential Freephone number. This service is available to older people, their families and carers. The service specialises in enquiries about care, benefits, housing, heating and legal and end-of-life issues as well as providing information about services and opportunities to reduce isolation and engage with the local community.
One example of the helpline in action involved Mr A; a man in his late 70’s who lived alone. Mr A had a number of health issues and recently had an operation which had made it more difficult for him to complete day-to-day tasks such as cooking. Mr A also explained that since his operation he has been keeping his heating on 24 hours a day, resulting in higher than usual bills and wanted to know how he could reduce his energy costs. He received no disability benefits and stated that his income was too high to enable him to access means-tested benefits.
The Age Scotland adviser offered a referral to Home Energy Scotland and Citizens Advice energy comparison website. The adviser explained how to get assistance to claim Attendance Allowance ( AA) and gave information on the application process as well as help to complete the application. The Adviser provided information on AA and explained that Mr A may be entitled to means-tested benefits. As Mr A had served in the army, he was also provided with information and contact details for Soldiers’, Sailors’ & Airmen’s Families Association ( SSAFA) and Armed Services Advice Project ( ASAP) and offered a referral.
Care and Repair
Care and Repair services operate across Scotland and offer personal, financial and technical support to people who need to repair, improve or adapt a home which is no longer suitable to the person’s needs. The service is available to owner-occupiers, private tenants and crofters who are aged over 60 or who have a disability.
The provision of advice and information is a central part of Care and Repair’s role, as well as providing practical assistance with grant applications and co-ordinating repairs. Care and Repair is a home-based and personalised service which puts the client in control of decisions.
A concerned neighbour contacted Care and Repair as Miss C was boiling snow and river water to drink and bathe as her water pipes had burst due to cold weather. Care and Repair accessed an energy grant to provide heating and insulation to the home and the client was able to remain in her cottage. Care and Repair also provided a benefits check which resulted in an increased weekly income.