Opportunity Presented by Demographic Challenge of Elderly Care Market

Wednesday, 09th May 2012

Published 09 May 2012.

As the UK’s population ages and people continue to live longer both families and health and social care services are being put under increased pressure. At the same time, the supply and funding of statutory care services have not seen sufficient growth and almost 800,000 people with care-related needs are now living with no formal support of any kind.

The impact of demographic shifts are not only felt by those who come to be more dependent, but also by loved ones who are needed to provide support to their relative(s). 1 in 7 employees are now understood to be juggling providing care for a loved one with their working lives, and 1 in 6 carers are forced to give up or reduce their working hours. Furthermore, a recent survey by Carers UK found that 31% of working age carers asked (1,018 of 3,223 people) were being forced to give up or reduce their working hours because suitable care services were not available for a relative.

When people leave the paid workforce to provide care it not only affects the well-being of them and their family, but there are also financial implications on the benefits and pension systems. The London School of Economics recently estimated that the total resulting cost of Carer’s Allowance and lost tax revenues in the UK is £1.3 billion per annum.

As outlined by Carers UK in its latest report, rather than viewing the impact of an ageing population as an insurmountable challenge, the task of addressing increasing demand for care services could be considered an economic opportunity. Employment growth will be needed to support the expansion of the care sector, with an estimated 400,000 to 1.3 million additional staff required by 2025. Investment opportunities should also arise from innovation in health and care technology and the emergence of new business models amongst care providers.

In ensuring that this happens it will be important that growth of the care sector is not only appropriately funded but also encouraged. This could include efforts to incentivise the care market (e.g. through tax incentives) and promote investment in new infrastructure and technology (e.g. by supporting integration).

About Carefound:

Carefound is a provider of specialist home care and dementia care services to elderly people in North Yorkshire, enabling clients to continue to live independently in the comfort of their own home whilst maintaining the highest quality of life achievable. Services provided include basic help in the home,companionship, personal care, medication help, post-operative rehabilitation, respite care and specialist help such as dementia care and palliative care. The flexible service ranges from 1 hour to 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, including bank holidays, and can also encompass 24-hour live-in care services. For more information please telephone 01423 774070 or visit www.carefound.co.uk.

Source: Age UK, Carers UK, London School of Economics, Carefound.