Only one in five local areas in the UK have enough older people’s care services to meet demand, suggests new research from Coram Family and Childcare. This means that over 4.3 million people aged 75 or over are living in areas without enough care.
Coram Family and Childcare Trust’s third annual Older People’s Care Survey – sponsored by Legal & General – found significant regional variation: no local authorities in Inner London or Northern Ireland reported having enough older people’s care services to meet demand in their area, while almost half (44%) in the East Midlands and the North East said they did. 34% of local authorities expect the situation to get worse in the next year, compared with only 1% who expect it to get better.
According to the report, older people who need care at home will struggle to find it, with only half of local authorities (51%) reporting enough support in their area. Those with more complex needs, such as dementia, may face even tougher odds of finding suitable care, with just 42% of areas having enough specialist nursing care to meet local demand.
People who pay for their own care are likely to struggle with high costs and information black spots, says the report. It found that:
- Older people paying for their own care face prices which are 13% higher than those paid by local authorities for residential care.
- Even if they only pay the same price as local authorities, at nearly £17 an hour, it takes just one year and one month for self-funders using 21 hours of support a week to spend £20,000 of savings on average UK homecare fees.
- One in six (16%) local authorities knew about the prices that self-funders pay.
- One in five (19%) did not have enough information to say whether there were enough older people’s care services in their area to meet demand.
Megan Jarvie, Head of Coram Family and Childcare said, 'High quality care for older people can help to improve their wellbeing and stay well for longer. But the gaps in care that we have found are likely to cause stress and hardship for older people and their families. Fixing our care system is an opportunity to support older people and their families to lead happier, healthier lives and to reduce the strain on the NHS.'
Chris Knight, Managing Director of Legal & General’s Retail Retirement Division said, 'We’re all part of the ageing society and this brings both opportunities and challenges – that is why it is important to support the government and the NHS to deliver a better long-term care system. At the moment there is too much confusion about how people find the right long-term care and how much people have to pay from their own pocket. We want to see a system of long-term care that is predictable and fair.'
Commenting on the Older People’s Care Survey, Janet Morrison, Chief Executive Officer at Independent Age said, 'Today’s report is yet another demonstration of how our social care system is in crisis, leaving older vulnerable people to extreme risk of neglect with no vital support. The Government’s continued delay in publishing the social care Green Paper is shameful and neglects older people.
'Every single older person is owed high quality care that does not leave them panicking this winter and worrying how they will fund it. The introduction of Free Personal Care is the first essential step in changing these latest distressing figures published by Coram Family and Childcare. It is time for the Government to get real about changing the experience of all older people in need of care and make the changes that are so clearly required.'