The need to save over £50 million from the Adult Social Care budget in the next two years is forcing Hampshire County Council to try all sorts of money saving initiatives.
One of the most important of these is the use of technology which they are hoping will allow older people to live in their own homes for longer.
It does seem as though we are moving into a new phase in which “expensive” human carers will be replaced with devices that can monitor and talk to you.
Perhaps we are not too far away from robot carers.
I have grave doubts about the direction of travel.
Having been a paid and unpaid carer at different times in my life, I have come to appreciate the value of human contact.
Once you think that an older relative has all the technology monitoring them, you might be less inclined to call in so regularly and check on them.
What price can you put on a visit, if the older person hasn’t seen or spoken to anybody for several days?
Only through face to face visits can you really pick up if they are feeling depressed or neglected themselves, or have adopted a habit that may harm them, or have some other vulnerability.
Central government has cut funding to local government by over 70% since 2010.
There is no further way of cutting back.
Some improvements to lifestyle and health care mean we can all live a bit longer, but for what end?