We all want the best for our parents and grandparents as they get older, and for ourselves when we reach our later years. In later life we might need a bit of help doing some of the things we take for granted when we are younger, and some older people need support with everyday things like going to the toilet, washing and preparing meals.
In a shocking analysis just released by Age UK, we see a social care system in deep decline. Despite rising numbers of older people, and growing demand for social care support, the amount spent on social care services for older people has fallen in England by £1.1 billion since 2010/11.
The sad reality behind the front doors to many homes is that every day hundreds of thousands of older people are left to battle on alone.
- One in three people who find it difficult to go to the toilet do not receive any help.
- Two out of three people who find it hard to eat on their own do not receive any help.
- One in three people who struggle to get out of bed on their own do not receive any help.
- Four in five people who need help taking their medication do not receive any help.
- Half of people who struggle to wash or get into the bath do not receive any help.
- Two out of five people who find it difficult to get dressed do not receive any help.
The social care system is a vital component in the engine of the NHS, and if it isn’t working properly the NHS breaks down.
What we’re seeing at the moment, with many hospitals reporting huge difficulties in managing their flows of patients in and out, is partly a result of them finding it hard to discharge older people, because it isn’t safe to send them home without proper social care in place. Also, if older people were receiving the right social care, there would surely be fewer emergency admissions.
What we want for our older relatives is no more than we all deserve: high quality compassionate care that treats older people with dignity and respect, enabling them to keep their independence and remain safely at home for as long as possible.
Care is in Crisis. We’re fighting to make sure everyone gets the care they need and deserve. Find out about Age UK’s Care in Crisis campaign