One Million Older People in Need of Care are Struggling Alone
A review by Age UK has highlighted how over a million older people in England are struggling to care for themselves without support. The charity used official data and existing research to identify just how many older individuals aren’t getting the help they need.
According to the review, there are more than three million people over the age of 65 who need care, as they struggle with everyday tasks such as washing, dressing, eating and going to the toilet. However, only two-thirds of them receive that care. 850,000 are supported by their local councils while just over one million rely on the help of family and friends. The remaining million are left to cope alone.
The report stresses that the number of older people struggling on their own is growing with the ageing population. “More than a million older people in England now have at least one unmet need for social care, compared to 800,000 in 2010.”
It also warns that community NHS services and GPs are struggling to meet the demands of the ageing population. There have been particularly large increases in the number of hospital admissions for pneumonia, urinary tract infections and congestive heart failure for older people. In fact, admissions for pneumonia among those over the age of 60 more than doubled between 2005 and 2014.
“On the whole, it is community-based services which help older people to sustain their independence which have seen the sharpest falls, or where supply is most obviously failing to meet rising demand,” says Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams. “If an older person asked us today how confident we were that their health and care needs will be met well in the future we would be whistling in the dark if we gave a wholly reassuring answer.”