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10 Old Grimsbury Rd, Banbury OX16 3HG, UK

QHO321 Community Business Project

Assessment Task

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Age UK is facing a number of challenges delivering many of its services and acknowledge that there is a need for transformation of some of these services to a digital delivery format.

In groups of 4 or 5, you will be required to undertake appropriate research and present your initial findings for Formative Assessment 1.

For Formative Assessment 2 you will need to provide an outline of the report structure giving a good indication of what you are going to discuss in each section, including the academic sources you have used

For your summative assessment you will be required to produce an individual report outlining a detailed review of the Age UK which may include the structure, company culture and mission/aims, competitors, market share, products/services, organisational strategy and business challenges. You will also provide reflection on how Age UK could approach the challenges facing them.

For Formative Assessment 2 you will need to provide an outline of the report structure giving a good indication of what you are going to discuss in each section, including the academic sources you have used

Solution

Introduction

Age UK is a non-profit organization from the United Kingdom. This assignment deals with the Age UK located in Telford and Wrekin Shrewberry, England. They are one of the leading charities dedicated to improving and enhancing the quality of life of older adults in the city. They provide various products and services that help older adults to lead a happier and comfortable life. COVID19 has taken a huge toll on almost every service in the country. It has especially impacted the services of service providers like Age UK due to the sudden lockdowns and social distancing rules. This has restrained the delivery of services provided by Age UK (ANON,2021).  

There have been several barriers that restricted the delivery of numerous services provided by Age UK. The major barrier has been the restrictions imposed by the complete lockdowns and social distancing constraints. It has interrupted services like ‘Face-to-face befriending’. It also involves outdoor activities like going for a trip or visiting a café, which is also impacted by the restrictions due to the COVID19 (Dale and Singer, 2019).    

Results/ Key Findings

Age UK, established in February 2009 by merging two organizations; Help the Aged and Age Concern England. The mission of the organization is to enhance the qualify of life of older adults by providing mental and emotional support, and decreasing the feeling of isolation and loneliness. They also provide different products that help in giving older adults a comfortable daily life. These products can be purchased from their product store called Age Co (Our Strategic Business Plan 2018 – 2021, 2021). Age UK has a diverse workplace culture, with people working as dedicated volunteers rather than just employees. They promote diversity and creativity at the workplace, with people belonging to different cultural backgrounds working together on an equal front with a common goal to help the older adults in the United Kingdom (Our Mission and Values, 2021).  

The mission of Age UK is to support the older adults of the country and help them lead joyful and comfortable life. They aim at providing these services to older adults-

By creating an age-friendly environment where older adults feel safe and comfortable, and to reduce and eventually end a feeling of isolation and loneliness in older adults, They also aim to provide psychological and emotional support to older adults who require the same, and, to establish and nurture a local community where older adults of a locality can get together and interact with each other. In addition, they also aim to recruit and deploy high-quality, compassionate, and age-friendly volunteers who provide the best possible support to older adults (Our Mission and Values, 2021).

Age UK faces competition from the companies like British Insititute of Learning Disabilities, Dementia UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Stroke Association, etc (Upon Thames, 2021).

Agent UK provides several products and services to its target audience. These include the following-

Insurance services – Age UK offers insurance specifically designed for older adults. These are-

Home insurance for over 50s – It offers protection to homes from various risks such as fire, flood, storm damages, theft, vandalism, collisions by moving objects, etc. Car insurance for over 50s – Vehicle protection insurance plan designed with the over 50s in mind. It includes protection from accidental damages to the vehicles. Motor breakdown insurance for over 50s is also available.  

Independent living – Age UK offers various products specifically designed for older adults, to improve their quality of life. These are-

Stairlift –Stairlift promote independence by providing a mechanized lift. older people. Personal alarm – These can be programmed to call emergency and medical services any time an older adult needs it. Bathing – The company provides showers with slip-resistant floor to mitigate any damages by falls and baths with mould designed to maintain an upright position comfortably. Incontinence –. The company provides numerous devices to address this issue. These include disposable incontinence products, bed and chair protection, toilet aids, etc.   

Financial Services – Age UK offers financial consultation and other services for the over 50s, helping them plan for a better life in the later years. These services include –

Legal services – Legal services regarding wills, nominations, property purchasing/selling, and other areas. Funeral planning – Cost-effective funeral planning as per the requirements of the audience in a dignified manner. Age Co is the brand of Age UK under which they provide different kinds of services and products tailored for the needs of older adults (Age UK(1128267), 2021).

As per a recently published official document, there are five key strategic objectives of Age UK, which are as follows-

  • To work in collaboration with older adults in localities and analyzing their needs evolving with time and adapt accordingly.
  • To improve and enhance the support provided to older adults by working in collaboration with other organizations providing similar services.
  • To install a robust, sustainable, and mixed funding apparatus to ensure financial resilience.
  • To ensure that the special services provided by the organization are amply evidenced, to show the difference made by these provisions.
  • To provide innovative support to the local older communities and bridge the gaps in the provision of medical and social services provided to different communities (ANON,2021).

In the present times, social media is an essential part of life. Information can be found and shared with the world with the touch of a button. Among older adults, social media platforms have become popular in recent years. According to the latest studies, the most popular social media among older adults is Facebook, followed by Whatsapp, YouTube, and Twitter. These platforms are primarily used to interact with friends and family (Drury, Abrams and Swift, 2017).  

Figure 1: Usage of social medial platforms among older adults in the UK (Source: Statista, 2021)

Barriers faced getting client access digital services in 3 areas:

Skills – Despite the best efforts by Age UK to maintain a straightforward approach to their services, it has been observed that not all older adults are skilled enough to fully utilize their services. Using the internet to order the right product is still a challenging task for a chunk of older adults.

Access – Access to the services and products provided by Age UK has been particularly challenged by the COVID19 pandemic. Physical delivery of the products has been halted due to the restriction imposed by the lockdown.

Figure 2: Barriers in Digital delivery of services (Source: Pereira-Morales et al., 2018)

Motivation – Generally, older adults are not very demanding people, they easily adapt to their surroundings and adjust according to whatever basic amenities are available to them. So, a lack of motivation is also a barrier in this regard (Pereira-Morales et al., 2018).

Discussion:

Most Suitable Age UK service for digital delivery

The online consultation service provided by Age UK is the most suitable service for digital delivery in the present times. It is a fully digital service provided online to avoid any sort of physical contact. This fulfills two major criteria. The first being the challenges posed by the COVID19 pandemic, where social distancing is an absolute necessity until a long-term solution is derived against the virus. Online delivery of services is a great help in this regard. The second criterion is to eliminate confusion among older adults in taking important decisions related to health, finance, and legal matters (Bennett, Honeyman and Bottery, 2018). It is a free and confidential service, ensuring expert advice in every matter.

Ideas for digital Delivery

A client feedback platform should be established where the clients can drop honest feedback about their experiences with the services and products provided by Age UK. This will help in creating a closer and stronger connection between the organization and its target audience. It will also help in constantly improving and updating the services provided by the organization, giving their clients a greater sense of comfort and independence. Creation of online tutorial sessions for developing basic but essential skills such as how to use the Internet to avail various services provided by Age UK can be a great solution to address the lack of skills and access faced by some clients of the organization. This will ensure a greater reach of the services offered as well as a longer client list. Offering an omni-channel experience where multiple services are provided to the clients under one platform has the potential to transform the digital services of Age UK. This will also ensure an easier and enjoyable experience for the users.

Conclusion

The ideas suggested have the potential to enhance the digital delivery of the services provided by Age UK, especially in the present times challenged by the COVID19 pandemic. They are expected to widen the client base of the organization while improving the user experience of the clients as well. These ideas will help to develop the necessary skills and providing access and motivation to older adults using the services of the organization (Hodgson and Hagan, 2020). These ideas may take a prolonged period of time to be implemented with full effectiveness. This is especially challenging for older adults who are not very familiar with the usage of online platforms and digital services. The delivery of physical products and face-to-face conversations also may face difficulties (Leedahl et al., 2019).

Recommendation

It is recommended that the organization work on training their staff to develop specialization in certain key areas. They can take a leaf out of their competitor’s book such as the Admiral nurses from Dementia UK, to develop more skilled and multi-dimensional workers, ultimately benefiting the clients associated with the organization.

References list

Age UK(a). 2021. [Products designed for later life] Available at: <https://www.ageuk.org.uk/products/> [Viewed 1 September 2021].

Age UK (b). 2021. [In your area] Available at: <https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/in-your-area/> [Viewed 1 September 2021].

Ageuk.org.uk(a). 2021. [Digital inclusion and older people – how have things changed in a Covid-19 world?] Available at: <https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/active-communities/digital-inclusion-in-the-pandemic-final-march-2021.pdf> [Viewed 1 September 2021].

Ageuk.org.uk (b). 2021. [Our Mission and Values] Available at: <https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northcraven/about-us/our-mission-and-values/> [Viewed 1 September 2021].

BENNETT, L., Honeyman, M. and Bottery, S., 2018. New models of home care. New York: The King’s Fund.

DALE, V.H. and Singer, J., 2019. Learner experiences of a blended course incorporating a MOOC on Haskell functional programming. Research in Learning Technology27.

DRURY, L., ABRAMS, D. and Swift, H.J., 2017. Making intergenerational connections–An evidence review.

Assets.publishing.service.gov.uk. 2021. Age UK(1128267). [Age UK(1128267)] Available at: <https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/517523/Age_UK.pdf> [Viewed 4 September 2021].

Ageuk.org.uk. 2021. Our Strategic Business Plan 2018 – 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.ageuk.org.uk/richmonduponthames/about-us/our-strategic-business-plan-2018—2021/#> [Viewed 4 September 2021].

HODGSON, J.C. and Hagan, P., 2020. Medical education adaptations during a pandemic: transitioning to virtual student support. Medical education54(7), pp.662-663.

LEEDAHL, S.N., Brasher, M.S., Estus, E., Breck, B.M., Dennis, C.B. and Clark, S.C., 2019. Implementing an interdisciplinary intergenerational program using the Cyber Seniors® reverse mentoring model within higher education. Gerontology & geriatrics education40(1), pp.71-89.

PEREIRA-MORALES, A.J., CRUZ-SALINAS, A.F., Aponte, J. and Pereira-Manrique, F., 2018. Efficacy of a computer-based cognitive training program in older people with subjective memory complaints: a randomized study. International Journal of Neuroscience128(1), pp.1-9.

Statista. 2021. UK, [most popular social media among those aged 56+ 2020 | Statista] Available at: <https://www.statista.com/statistics/1059480/social-media-usage-uk-age-56-over/> [Viewed 22 August 2021].

UPON THAMES, R., 2021. [Our Strategic Plan 2018 – 2021] Available at: <https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.ageuk.org.uk/richmonduponthames/about-us/our-strategic-business-plan-2018—2021/&ved=2ahUKEwjNmZaXm7_xAhWZi1wKHVQoBQMQFjABegQIBBAF&usg=AOvVaw27iLkCP7ePeutyx1DoRH6K> [Viewed 1 September 2021].

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