The Demand for Elderly Care to “Outstrip” Family Supply

It has been predicted that by 2017 the number of elderly people in the UK needing care will “outstrip” family members in a position to provide it. Further to this an estimate in this recent report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests that by 2030 there will be more than two million people in the UK over the age of 65 who will have no family living nearby to support them if needed.

The report suggested a number of actions that need to be taken in the UK if this care gap is going to be filled.

  • Widen the use of “neighbourhood networks”, highlighting those run in Leeds by older people and offering activities to reduce social isolation as well as providing care and support
  • Invest in strengthening community groups in areas with the “weakest record for community-based care”
  • Follow international examples, highlighting initiatives in Germany, Australia and Japan’s 10-year nationwide campaign “to train one million dementia supporters”
  • House public services for different age groups, such as childcare and care for the elderly, together in the same buildings as is done in Germany
  • Strengthen employment rights for carers

Clare McNeil, senior research fellow at the centre-left think tank, told the BBC: “There won’t be the family members needed to provide the types care that people see at the moment. That will mean there is more pressure on social services, and stretched services like the NHS.We need to have a fundamental rethink about the way that we look after each other later in life.” She said the government needed to invest in community networks and make it easier for people to combine care and work.

Also commenting on this report Helena Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK said “our families, society and economy need reliable, affordable, quality care and support services and solid support and rights for those caring to ensure such breakdowns are prevented”.

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