According to Age UK, a ‘catastrophic’ situation is developing in England with many vulnerable elderly people being denied care.
An analysis by Age UK found that the proportion of over-65s getting help had fallen by a third since 2005-6. In 2013, less than 900,000 over-65s got help, which equates to one in 10 people in that group compared with 15% seven years ago.
The review, based on published data, estimated at least 800,000 older people were going without vital help. This includes council-funded help in the home with daily tasks such as washing, dressing and eating as well as care home places.
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said, ‘both our health and social care services need to work differently to respond to the needs of our ageing population.’ He said that social care was a priority and ‘both our health and social care services need to work differently to respond to the needs of our ageing population – we need to focus on keeping people well and living independently for as long as possible.’
Age UK Charity Director Caroline Abrahams said that the system is so underfunded and ‘the figures we have uncovered in this report are catastrophic. Older people who need help and are now not getting it are being placed at significant risk and families who care for loved ones are experiencing intolerable strain.’ She said this did not make financial sense either, as being denied this type of care increased the risk of expensive hospital admissions.
The government is attempting to ease the pressure on the care system next year by creating a pooled £3.8bn budget with the NHS to encourage greater co-ordination and then in 2016 the cap on care costs will be introduced.
A Local Government Association spokeswoman said, ‘the shortage of funding is being exacerbated by increasing demand. To substantially raise the standard of care on a nationwide basis, more money needs to be put into the system.’