Growing old & footing the bill

OAP, Care home, pensioner, Zimmer frame, old, residential

OAP, Care home, pensioner, Zimmer frame, old, residential

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THE number of Fifers aged over 75 is set to soar - and politicians are trying to work out how to pay for their care.

The task of finalising budgets for social work is underway and will almost mean some difficult choices being made.

The number of people living in the Kingdom, aged over 75 is expected to increase by 20.4 per cent by 2014 - and by 64.3 per cent by 2024.

Officers say that while there will still be significant investment to support the most vulnerable people, choices will focus on delivering what matters most, and the Council will have to get the best use of resources - and get better for less wherever possible.

Councillor Tim Brett, chairman of the social work and health committee, said maintaining high standards of services was key.

He told the Press: “We must continue to target support to the most vulnerable people.

Priorities

“In an ideal world we would not have to make such tough decisions. However, every area of public service has to prioritise the way money is spent.”

The Council will explore looking at working more with voluntary and private enterprise, to address the increasing demand for services.

Cllr Brett added:“Facing up to the pressure of delivering major savings next year and beyond is essential.

‘‘There will be times when it’s our duty to make difficult and unpopular decisions in the short term to keep standards high.

“We welcome serious debate on changing social work services to meet modern, challenging times, because we owe it to the people of Fife to get it right.’’