Social care is failing younger disabled adults who are living in older people’s care homes, warn the MS Society and Care and Support Alliance. They say that these homes were never designed for them and can’t meet their needs.
The MS Society submitted Freedom of Information requests to all local authorities in England, asking how many people aged 18 to 64 are living in care homes for residents aged 65 or older. Half were able to respond, revealing more than 3,300 people living in settings never meant for them. This indicates that, across the country, almost one in seven younger disabled adults in residential care could be in homes for older people – where an estimated 70% of care home residents have some form of dementia.
The charities claim these figures are symbolic of wider problems with social care, following a recent report showing only 32% of 18 to 29 year-olds with multiple sclerosis (MS) have all their care needs met.
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said, 'It is fundamentally wrong that younger adults with MS are living in older people’s care homes in such numbers. These facilities are rarely equipped to meet all of their needs, and this can have a hugely detrimental impact on quality of life and mental health. This is just one symptom of a social care system in crisis, where one in three people with MS don’t get the right level of care.
'In 20 years, we’ve seen at least 10 government consultations and reviews on social care, but haven’t seen the change we urgently need. Next week’s Budget is a crucial opportunity to close the funding gap, expected to reach £2.5bn by the end of the decade. Our polling shows the British public are appalled by Government inaction and believe our country must do better to support those who need help to live independently.'
Mark Lever, Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, and Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society said, 'More than a million disabled and older people don’t get the care they need. And while more and more of us are living longer, and many of us are living longer with disabling conditions, shrinking funding means we are less and less likely to get care.
'It is deeply concerning that three quarters of the British public said they would be scared if they needed care themselves. We must have a system that provides people with the care they need, when they need it. The Government must act urgently to bring forward plans to address the care crisis.'
The MS Society has published End the Care Crisis: Stories from people affected by MS in England as part of its campaign to make sure good quality care is available for everyone with MS that needs it. The MS Society and CSA are calling on the Government to bring forward social care proposals by early 2018 through a petition.