Dr. Matthew Knight

Creating a more ‘decent society’ for the elderly

Government proposals to limit the contribution of individuals to their care costs to £75,000 over a lifetime are promising. More interesting was MP Norman Lamb’s proposal to create a more ‘decent’ society. By this he meant one in which the local community is engaged and supports the elderly living in their own homes. This comes as part of the governments campaign to reduce the number of admissions to elderly care homes and nursing homes.

How can we in our local community help provide a safer place for the elderly? Being aware of your neighbours and being neighbourly is a good start. Yet the hectic nature of people lives in London today mean that often we do not get to see or meet our neighbours from one week to the next.

Recreating the village atmosphere is not something that can be legislated for. However, proposals such as neighbourhood watch extending to neighbours being aware of vulnerable people in their community are promising.

As we age we often become less able to participate in the local community and risk disappearing or becoming invisible, just at the time when perhaps the help and support of the local community is most needed.

Home care and home living support is designed to help support living in the community by making a thorough care assessment of a persons needs, and providing appropriate physical and personal support in their own homes and community, enabling them to live as full a life as possible.

By supporting not just physical needs such as washing and dressing but also by providing the opportunity to socialise and be as active as possible in the local community, quality of life is improved and neighbours are supported in supporting each other. When doing a full physical care assessment, the need to get out of the house and participate in community life must not be overlooked as this is vital to the spiritual and psychological welfare of those who might, without help, be housebound.

We look forward to the upcoming government review and hope to be able to support and implement suggestions for improving the lives of those we care for.


Dale, Samuel, “Govt pledges LTC funding reforms ‘before March Budget’”: 24 Jan 2013 (MoneyMarketing, 24 Jan 2013), available online here.

Kirkup, James, “Neglectful Britons blamed for forcing elderly into care homes”: 31 Dec 2012 (The Telegraph, 2012), available online here.

Ross, Tim, “Elderly care reforms will have to wait, warns Chancellor”: 21 Sep 2012 (The Telegraph, 2012), available online here.

Dr. Knight trained as a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, Hampstead and University College London (UCL). He then undertook his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine, based in north west London, and is currently working full time as a Registrar in Respiratory Medicine, at the Royal Brompton Hospital. His main interests are Asthma and allergy and he is currently studying part time for a Masters degree in Allergy, at Imperial College London.

Note: As part of Penrose Care’s commitment to our local community, Penrose Care screens and trains volunteers to provide occasional companionship to vulnerable individuals residing in north west London. More information can be obtained by visiting our Volunteer Corp page: https://penrosecare.co.uk/volunteer_corp.html

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