Older social care is in “calamitous, quite rapid decline” according to Age UK, a leading charity which has drawn together existing figures to provide an overall picture of the system.
Age UK has brought together and analysed the previously published figures and research on social care spending and the number of older people receiving care, to create what is being referred to as a social care “scorecard”.
Age UK’s charity director, Caroline Abrahams said she believed the scorecard laid bare the “devastating” realities of the state of the care system, by pulling together stark figures from 22 separate datasets.
She said: “Policymakers owe it to the public, older people especially, to confront the crisis in social care and its consequences.
“Above all, this scorecard makes clear that for any policymaker to acknowledge the need for investment in the NHS while omitting to mention social care is not good enough.”
- Spending on social care services for older people in England has fallen by £1.1 billion from 2010-11 to 2013-14, even when government-mandated transfers of funds from the NHS to councils are taken into account.
- The number of older people receiving home care has fallen by 32% since 2010 while day care places have declined by 67% over that time.
- Nearly a third of older people who have difficulty carrying out essential daily activities like washing, going to the toilet and getting out of bed do not receive any formal help to do so.
Abrahams said this meant hundreds and thousands of older people in need of social care were being left “high and dry”.
Responding to the report, Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association (LGA)’s community wellbeing board, described the system as chronically underfunded.
She said: “The combined pressures of insufficient funding, growing demand, escalating costs and a 40% cut to local government budgets across this parliament means that despite councils’ best efforts, they are having to make tough decisions about the care services they can provide.”
The Age UK findings follow news that the government would provide an extra £25m until the end of the financial year to help councils in areas where NHS hospital pressures are greatest reduce levels of delayed discharges.