Caritas helping to coordinate care in an ageing society

By Normandie Wragg, Nugent chief executive

On 4 December 2019, I attended the launch of two major new resources on care in our ageing society at a gathering in London, coordinated by Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN). Many directors and diocesan representatives, including myself and other representatives from Nugent, in the Caritas network had contributed evidence to the report. In it, we highlight the challenges with funding and how non-statutory providers are offering to make up the difference for the true cost of care.
The following information has been provided by CSAN:
First, the ‘Care in Time’ report explores how senior leaders of Catholic organisations can address the increasing concerns of charities and carers about the prospects for the care of older people in England and Wales. Longer lives are a great sign of progress, creating new opportunities in our society. But challenges remain, from developing positive attitudes to ageing and public awareness of care, to the impacts of regulation and markets on care provided by Catholic organisations among others.
In the report, Peter Kevern, professor of values in social care at Staffordshire University, has extended Catholic social thought on ageing in our national context. Dr Kathryn Hodges, an independent consultant and researcher, completed field research with residents in care homes, religious sisters and working-age adults in Catholic parishes, in three areas of England.
Secondly, ‘Reaching Out’ offers parishes and groups some guidance on discerning and organising local group-based social activities that older people feel right for them. This resource is the fruit of a three-year collaboration – the Embrace Project – between Caritas Salford, Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds), Father Hudson’s Care and the national team in CSAN, with over 20 activities established by Catholic parishes engaging over 1,000 people of all ages within and beyond the Catholic community.
The new resources are available to download ( For 'Care in Time' and accompanying reports, please see CSAN’s publications page (under Older People); for 'Reaching Out' see Older People and Catholic parishes making memories together. Further pointers for practical action in local churches are offered on the CSAN site as ‘Resources for parishes and groups’.
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales welcomed the conclusions of ‘Care in Time’ at their plenary meeting in November 2019, and in a joint resolution:
• Noted the need for increased national coordination to counter negative portrayals of ageing, frailty and care. In addition, the Bishops’ Conference recognised the need to develop Catholic care provision that attends to longevity, changing patterns in household formation, parish attendance and pastoral ministry;
• Supported the creation of a plan to maintain, and where possible enhance, provision of care to older people, and encouraged the joint discernment of the Conference of Religious, Diocesan Financial Secretaries, the Catholic Trust for England and Wales, and Caritas Social Action Network in this work.