Social care living on borrowed time says Age UK

A new report from Age UK has concluded that we are living on borrowed time to save the social care system for older people.

  • Statistics in the report highlight the immense challenges facing older people needing support, with one in eight over 65s now living with unmet care needs
  • Failing care system has created a major burden for hospitals and family members
  • Age UK demands that the government commits funds in the spring Budget to avoid ‘imminent danger’

The report, ‘The Health and Care of Older People in England 2017’ draws on new statistics as well as new Age UK analysis.

It demonstrates the immense challenges facing older people who need care, the numbers of whom increase every day, and the impact of the failure to provide it on their health and wellbeing, as well as the NHS.

There are now nearly 1.2 million people aged over 65 who don’t receive the care and support they need with essential daily living activities. This represents one in eight older people in the entire population – a 17.9 per cent increase on last year and a 48 per cent increase since 2010.

Worryingly, the report suggests that however tough things are now they threaten to get a lot worse over the next few years for a number of reasons which the report details.

People are waiting longer to be discharged from hospital, putting more pressure on hospital resources and capacity and leading to increased spending. Waits for residential care have also increased.

Caroline Abrahams

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “The government has tried to prop up older people’s social care in three ways: through financial transfers from the NHS, a social care precept in local areas, and by calling on families and friends to do more. Unfortunately our analysis shows there are problems with all three approaches, which in any event are not enough to make up for the chronic shortfall in public funds.”

Age UK is calling for the government to:

  • Recognise the imminent danger which social care is now in and commit to an urgent injection of funds in the Budget.
  • Lead a process for developing a long term solution to the care crisis that incorporates the views of older and disabled people and all parts of the health and care sector.
  • This will engage the public in the important question of how we pay for a decent care system we can all rely on when we need it.
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