Age UK have said Christmas sparked a big rise in calls to the charity from older people and their families asking for advice about care homes. The charity experienced a significant increase in calls to its national advice line during winter of last year, with a 12 per cent rise in calls from older people, when compared to 2015.
Residential care help was the main reason for calling, with the other top reasons being health and disability, legal advice, non-residential care and money benefits.
Age UK’s advice line is a free helpline offering support for older people 365 days a year. The charity’s level 2 advisors, who are trained in handling longer and more complex enquiries, most frequently answer questions on residential care, paying for nursing care, and arranging care assessments. Calls peak during the winter months as people get together with older relatives. Family members will notice a big difference in the health or social care of their older relatives and this can lead them to become concerned and want to speak to someone.
As well as older people, Age UK also saw a 32 per cent rise in calls to the advice line from adult children over Christmas 2016 compared to the year before.
The rise in calls to Age UK during the Christmas period could come as a concern, as it indicates a worrying older population, concerned for their health and long-term care. Arguably, the rise in calls during this period could be viewed as understandable, when taking into account the time of year, and family members seeing their older relatives for the first time in a while.