In a startling new finding based on an extensive analysis, Age UK has revealed that the number of older people in the UK who are facing difficulty in coping with basic tasks at home including getting out of bed, washing and dressing but who get no help in carrying out these tasks at home has now soared to over one million.
The charity revealed in its report that the number of older people who were without such care at home was 900,000 last year and with an increase of over 100,000 in one year alone, the number has reached a million this year.
The charity says that the latest numbers are a stark reminder of the extent to which older people are being left stranded, with nearly a third (31.1 per cent) of all of those who have difficulty in carrying out one or more essential activities of daily life not receiving any formal or informal help.
Going into specifics, the charity says:
- Over 50 per cent of older people in the UK who struggle to wash/get in the bath do not receive any help (580,000 out of 1,120,000.)
- More than one in three of those who find it difficult to go to the toilet do not receive any help (140,000 out of 400,000)
- One in three of those who find it hard to get out of bed on their own do not receive any help (210,000 out of 650,000)
- Over four in five of those who need help taking their medication do not receive any help (230,000 out of 270,000)
- Almost two thirds of those who find it hard to eat on their own do not receive any help (180,000 out of 290,000)
- Over two fifths of those who find it difficult to get dressed do not receive any help (680,000 out of 1,530,000)
Age UK says that the lack of care and support has a knock on effect on the NHS as numbers of unplanned ‘emergency’ hospital admissions have increased from 1,810,531 in 2005/06 to 2,211,228 in 2012/13 amongst those aged 65 and over.
Further, the spending on social care services for older people over the last decade has plunged by almost a third (32.6 per cent) from £8.1 billion in 2005/06 to £5.46 billion in 2014/15.
Community care services have also taken a hit with a huge cut of 24.9 per cent (£560 million) since 2010/11 alone. These figures take account of budget transfers from the NHS to social care.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says that not only are the million older people without help from social care system, they are also not getting any support from family, friends or neighbours either.
“To have to struggle alone is unfair on these older people and also unacceptable in a civilised society”, Abrahams added.