Older people are being forced out of their own
homes and into residential care, according to a new report by the
British Gas Help the Aged Partnership.
The study 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 with £669 for a younger adult
with learning difficulties and £423 for a younger adult with a
The report also shows that age discrimination
is not only present in social care but in health, social security,
transport, employment and education too.
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 who claim
disability benefits is longer than for younger people.
Only 3.5 per cent of further education
students are aged 65 and over and eligibility for student loans is
restricted to the under-55s. A Help the Aged and 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 to society.
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 deal.”
– Age Discrimination in Public Policy