The good news is; people are living for longer. However, in an aging society, there is an increasing demand for care provision in later life. People are having less children, and traditional caring responsibilities in families and communities are changing. Combined with tight government budgets, services providing care for older adults are increasingly overstretched. In this context, the government is trying to find solutions on how to support older adults to enjoy independence , control and dignity in later life
Time Banking initially started life in the USA as an intervention focussing on providing services to older adults to enable them to maintain independence and remain in their own homes. Time Banking continues to have this role today, and time banks can help older people by providing personal assistance, befriending and allowing opportunities to contribute to their communities.
There is twenty years of research evidence to support the claims that time banks have benefits for older people.
A study which explored the use of time credits with older adults in the USA demonstrated success. The older adults valued the high quality services provided by fellow members. They reported being able to access more diverse services and valued being part of a supportive social community. [ Download ]
A study of a community time bank in the USA showed that the time bank enabled the development of social capital between generations. Older people interacted with younger people, facilitating the growth of social networks and bridging the age-divide. [ Download ]
Participants in a ‘visiting nurse’ time bank reported improved health due to increased access to services and improved friendships. Members were able to ask for support during personal crises. [ Download ]
Dentzer explored the early implementation of time credits in social care organisations in the USA. They had significant implementation problems and is useful reading for those considering implementing time banks focussing on older adults. [ Download ]