Re-thinking Reablement Services

By: Valerie Anne Ebrahimi  

Older adults' rights to social participation have often been referred to in the guise of health and social care initiatives as well as in policy. Yet the reality is, that more often, an approach is taken prioritising personal care (PC) or domestic support (DS) (Greenwood, Ebrahimi & Keeler, 2018; Gardiner, Geldenhuys, & Gott, 2018). Even reablement services which reduce paid care and facilitate independence, tend to focus on these interventions (PC & DS), rather than the more far reaching opportunities gained by addressing social inequality. Having said this, reablement services are nonetheless a useful in-road in identifying people that are isolated or lonely. These services offer a realistic prospect for supporting people at an individual, more personalised level. Of late, the current buzzword in the UK is 'social prescribing', suggesting that solutions can be achieved by referrals from doctors or other health professionals to outside specialist organisations, or charities. This is a juxtaposition with conflicting undertones and to date the effectiveness of this approach is very limited. The word ‘prescribing’ implies medical expertise (and/or treatment) and paradoxically this contradicts the ideology of what social participation is. It perpetuates relationships of inferiority and inequality. The question is, therefore, to what extent can we, as health and social care professionals, start a dialogue about alternative frameworks that have pragmatic use. The aim of this session is to elicit discussion as to how we might contribute to the successful and measurable development of reablement-led social participation in older adult commuity dwelling populations.

Social Participation, Older People, Community, Rights, Social And Health Services
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Focused Discussion

Valerie Anne Ebrahimi

Senior Lecturer, Social Work and Interprofessional Education, University of Chester, United Kingdom
Cheshire, United Kingdom