Over 1 million Older People with Unmet Care Needs

Friday, 23rd October 2015

Published 23 October 2015.

A report by national charity, Age UK, has found that over 1 million older people are now living without any help with their care needs such as washing, dressing and going to the toilet. The figure is up from only 800,000 people in 2010.

Wetherby Home Care Team

The Health and Care of Older People in England 2015 report highlights the fact that, as the number of older people in England and the proportion with long-term conditions is growing, investment in health and social care services has failed to keep pace, resulting in resources being stretched and fewer people receiving the care they require.

There are more than 10 million older people aged over 65 in England and more than 3 million struggle with tasks such as washing, eating, dressing and going to the toilet. Approximately 1 million of these people privately fund home care or receive help at home from family and friends and another 850,000 people are being supported by their local authority. The remaining 1 million people are understood to receive no help at all.

In particular, there appears to be a failure to intervene early and help people with daily living at home before they develop more intensive care needs as a result of incidents such as falls or urinary tract infections (UTIs). The result is that between 2005/6 and 2013/14 pneumonia related hospital admission rates for seniors have more than doubled, and suspected UTIs increased by 81%.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:

“All the data in this report points in the same direction. The numbers of older people in England are steadily growing, and the proportion with long term conditions is growing faster still, but investment in health care overall is failing to keep pace and spending on social care has fallen quite spectacularly over the last five years.”

“On the whole it is the 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. So, for example, GPs numbers are not keeping up with a growing older population and meals-on-wheels provision, once a mainstay of community care, is rapidly falling away.”

Oliver Stirk, Director at Carefound Home Care in Harrogate commented:

“The case for early intervention and caring for elderly people at home where they are happiest and most comfortable could not be clearer. This not only enables seniors to stay independent for longer and sustain well-being, but it also prevents costly hospital and residential care admissions.”

“At Carefound Home Care in Harrogate we have developed a unique focus on improving the daily lives of our clients and their health outcomes through our hourly home care and live-in care services, which we believe will be key to changing the way older people are cared for in the future.”

Source: Age UK, BBC.