Straight Talk
Ollie Watson • Director • CACI

Ollie Watson explores how data can help domiciliary care providers target areas of growth and understand the needs of their clients.

The British population is growing older, fast. From 2014 to 2024, our estimates show that the elderly population (aged 65 and over) in Great Britain is expected to rise by 14%. This is compared to a 5% rise in the overall population. This means that more people than ever will need the help of care professionals in the years to come.

At the same time, the over 65 population owns the largest number of households in the country. Overall in the UK, there are 5.7m houses that are owned outright, where the head of household is over 65 years old. In the South West region, for example, out of 816,000 households that have managed to pay off their mortgages, 605,000 have a head of household that is over 65. That’s a share of around 75%.

Is it argued that an older person’s wellbeing is significantly increased when living at home and the Government has pledged to help people live in their own homes for as long as possible. For care providers, this means both an obligation and an opportunity to provide better domiciliary care services.

When looking at opportunities, targeting local areas with a growing rate of elderly homeowners will be important for growing domiciliary care companies.

Applying the data, the seven areas of Britain where the highest proportion of homes are owned by people aged 65 and over are:

  1. Dorset, South West – 83.5%
  2. Rutland, East Midlands – 83.1%
  3. Torbay, South West – 82.4%
  4. Conwy, Wales – 81.8%
  5. Gwynedd, Wales – 80.7%
  6. Argyll and Bute, Scotland – 80.3%
  7. Denbighshire, Wales – 80.3%

These are the only places in Britain where out of all houses owned, more than 80% are owned by people over the age of 65.

Across Britain, the average percentage of households owned by those over 65 is 69.3%. This is across 149 areas, in a range from 50.2%, all the way up to the seven areas above 80%.

This means that there are huge differences in where elderly people own homes, and thus where the market for domiliciary care is biggest.

Having as much data and information as possible about social care users, however, is not only beneficial for deciding where to target investments. Knowing as much as possible about potential service users, their lifestyles, and broader demographic information about the kinds of people most likely to use the services of a domiciliary care company, helps such businesses to plan and tailor their offer to the needs of the local population in a particular area.

Care providers can even use relevant demographic data about health needs of specific demographic groups in specific postcodes to target their efforts.

Aside from demographic data, personal data about care users is crucial for providing quality care. For the individual care workers supporting older people, having as much data and information about users as possible is essential. There is an ever-growing demand for personalising care services to the needs of the individual client, and knowing all the details about a person’s case history will make them feel cared for in a much more profound way.

Such information also helps the care workers to deal with complex and changing situations in a user’s home, and reduces time spent on administration. This means that the organisation as a whole gets more time to spend on the actual care.

Care providers need data to target their care efforts in the best possible way. Only then can we achieve the Government’s goal of having more people living at home for longer – and offer those people the personalised care they deserve. Data insights are, therefore, essential in all stages of providing domiciliary care from strategic to operational and should be a main priority for care providers in the years to come.

Ollie Watson is Director of CACI. Email: OWatson@caci.co.uk Twitter: @Caci_Cygnum @CACI_LocStrat

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