Older people are being forced out of their own homes and into
residential care, according to a report by the British Gas Help the
Aged Partnership, writes Katie
‘Age Discrimination in Public Policy’ reveals that local
authorities have a financial incentive to encourage older people to
go into care rather than provide care in the community.
It shows that cost ceilings – upper limits on expenditure
amounts – are significantly lower for older people than for younger
users of social care. The average gross weekly expenditure in
England on residential or nursing care is £342 for an older
person compared to £669 for a younger adult with a learning
difficulty and £423 for a younger adult with a mental
The report also shows that age discrimination is not only
present in social care, but also in health, social security,
transport, employment and education.
Age is used to ration health resources, claims the report,
highlighting a survey of GPs which indicates upper age limits for
hospital services including bypass operations, kidney dialysis, and
routine breast screening.
In addition, people who become disabled over the age of 65 do
not receive the mobility component attached to the benefit, and the
qualifying period for older claimants of disability benefits is
longer than for younger people
Only 3.5 per cent of further education students are over the age
of 65 years, and eligibility for student loans is restricted to
those under the age of 55.
A Help the Aged/NOP poll shows that half the population believes
this country treats older people “as if they’re on the scrap heap”,
with 40 per cent feeling that older people are considered a burden
This week, the charity launched ‘Scrap it!’, a UK wide campaign
aimed at challenging age discrimination.
“The government concedes that age discrimination exists in the
NHS,” said the charity’s director of policy, Paul Cann. “Now it is
shown to be endemic across public institutions. There needs to be a
root and branch review of public policy, backed up by adequate
legislation to give older people a fair choice and a fair