The demographic ticking time bomb coming for UK care sector

Topics covered: adult social care, Care England, Department of Health and Social Care

The 2021 Census data (“The Data”) was released by the Office of National Statistics (“ONS”) on 17 February 2023. The Data shows a rapid growth in the number of over 65s living alone across England and Wales. This is expected to drive a surge in demand for later life social care and other public health services, according to retirement research specialist ‘Just Group.’

Why is this concerning?

Analysis of The Data shows that 3.3 million over-65s are now living alone, which is a 15% increase from the 2011 Census data. The 2011 Census data previously evidenced just 2.9 million over-65s in one-person households. This is significant because research conducted by Just Group published in the 2022 Care Report has indicated there is a close link between over 65s living alone, which can lead to poor health and greater use of public health services. The research also indicated that 75% of those aged over 65 have also not thought about care, planned for it, or spoken to loved ones about it.

What is being said?

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, stated:

“Every year, household data shows the clock is running down on a demographic time bomb for the UK’s creaking social care sector. These latest government figures show double-digit growth in the number of over-65s living alone over the past decade. Older people are more likely to suffer from health conditions as well as loneliness which in itself can contribute to deteriorating health. The almost inevitable knock-on effect from this will be an increased demand for public health services such as social care, piling pressure on a sector that is already struggling to cope.”

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