Many older people not receiving basic care, says Age UK

Hundreds of thousands of older people are not receiving the help they need to get out of bed, dress or eat, according to a new report.

Hundreds of thousands of older people are not receiving the help they need to get out of bed, dress or eat, according to a new report.

A lack of care home providers and budget cuts have put pressure on the provision of
care for older people. Picture: iStock

The study from Age UK found a large drop in the number of people eligible for social care, leaving many to care for themselves or rely on the help of family and friends.

The study showed that, despite needing it, more than 200,000 people across England received no help with bathing, more than 140,000 had no help getting in and out of bed, and about 400,000 had no one to help them dress.

Some 24,000 needed help with eating and more than 78,000 were left with no help getting to the toilet.

Almost 2.3 million people aged 65 and over had difficulty with at least one activity of daily living, the report said, but 1.2 million did not receive the support they needed.

 ‘Borrowed time’

The results represent an 18% increase on last year and a 48% increase since 2010. In 2005-06, 15.3% of older people received social care support, but this dropped to 9.2% in 2013-14.

The report stated that England was living on borrowed time in saving social care for older people from ‘complete collapse’.

The warning came amid concerns that, despite rising demand for care from an older population, the sector is under pressure from a combination of budget cuts and care home providers pulling out of the market.

Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: ‘Our new report makes for frightening reading, because it shows just how fragile older people’s social care now is.

Emergency funds

‘Even worse, unless something changes, the crisis will certainly deepen this year and next, and we think there is now a real risk of a complete collapse in social care in the worst-affected areas.

‘If this happened it would be a disaster that would threaten the health and even the lives of the older people affected. It would also greatly intensify pressures on our hospitals.’

The charity wants to see an emergency injection of funds into social care in the upcoming budget and a long-term plan for its sustainability.

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president elect Margaret Willcox said: ‘This report is extremely worrying, yet unsurprising, and reflects the concerns of the whole sector united in the belief that adult social care is at risk of failure to chronic underfunding.’

Sustainable solution 

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘We recognise the pressures of an ageing population, which is why we are giving local authorities access to £7.6 billion of new money for adult social care.

‘This government has gone further to integrate health and social care than any other before it.

‘We have brought budgets together for the first time through the Better Care Fund and given the NHS an extra £10 billion per year by 2020-21 to fund its own plan to build a more responsive, modern health system.

‘But this is not solely about money, which is why we are working to find a long-term, sustainable solution which helps local authorities learn from each other to raise standards across the whole system.’

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