This study examined the experiences of older people with high support needs involved in support based on mutuality and reciprocity.
It offers policy and practice insights for a number of audiences and agendas.
Older people with high support needs want greater choice and control over their life and a wider range of options. This study identifies the benefits and potential of options based on mutuality (people supporting each other) and / or reciprocity (people contributing to individual and group well-being). Formal (e.g. Shared Lives, Homeshare, Time Banks) and informal (e.g. mutually supportive relationships) models and arrangements can be found throughout the UK, but they usually operate under the radar of public sector commissioners and on a very small scale.
Two key areas where the study has direct relevance are: the future funding and delivery of long-term care; and the transformation of local services to offer greater choice of personalised support. It focuses on a population - older people with high support needs - for whom significant progress needs to be made to increase their voice, choice and control and widen their options for support.