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An older woman chatting to a nurse in her home.

We want to see a world where everyone in later life can access high quality health and care.

The challenge

Older people should expect high quality, joined up health and care services, personalised to their needs. We need services which look after the person rather than just treating a set of symptoms.

Poor quality care is never acceptable but it is often only when it amounts to abuse and neglect that it becomes a matter of public concern. Only 36% of the public are confident that older people are treated with dignity when receiving social care. While the number of people needing care is growing, funding continues to fall.

Are you a carer? Read our information and advice

Caring for someone with dementia

Paying for care and support at home

What we do

We call for improvements to the law, campaign for high quality care so people are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We work to join up health and social care services so that older people are enabled and supported to stay independent and well for as long as possible.

As part of a new approach we're testing, we put older people's goals at the centre of the health and care services they received, reducing preventable hospital admissions by 49%Our work today

Campaigning for better care

In January 2014 we published our social care score card. It showed that, despite rising demand, the amount spent on social care services for older people had fallen nationally by £1.1 billion (14.4%) since 2010/11. Preventative services such as meals on wheels and day care had been especially hard hit.

In February 2015 we published ‘A great place to grow older’, our challenge to the next Government to improve the lives of older people during the course of the next Parliament.

In the report we set out the policies we would like to see in place by 2020. We said that every older person with a social care need should receive a social care service, and called for a high quality, fully joined up, personalised health and care service for older people living with frailty in care homes. We also highlighted priority reforms, including the reversal of social care cuts and the need to fully fund the Care Act 2014.

Tackling malnutrition in hospital

Age UK is a member of the Malnutrition Task Force, an independent group of experts across health, social care and local government, that was set up to tackle preventable malnutrition amongst older people.

This year the Task Force successfully completed its ‘Malnutrition Prevention Pilot’, a programme that worked across the health and social care sector, together with community organisations, to reduce malnutrition amongst older people in care and hospital settings in five areas of the country – Lambeth and Southwark, Kent, Dorset, Gateshead and Salford. The findings from the pilot will be used to encourage new areas to tackle the issue and to inform how they do so.

Your rights in hospital

How to get care after leaving hospital

Driving innovation in care services

Since 2012, Age UK has been developing an innovative integrated care model to provide a combination of medical and non-medical support to older people living with multiple long-term conditions, particularly those at risk of unplanned hospital admissions.

The model integrates health, social care and voluntary sector services, including those provided by local Age UKs. An Age UK Personal Independence Co-ordinator works alongside an older person to draw out their most important personal goals – such as being able to walk their dog or meet up with friends – and helps co-ordinate the services they need to achieve those goals. Each older person is also matched with a volunteer and is supported to manage their own care and wellbeing. The volunteer provides intensive support for about 12 weeks, after which the local Age UK can continue to offer assistance if needed.

We first piloted the model with Age UK Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in Newquay with 100 older people. In 2014/15 we expanded this pilot to include the Penwith area and support 1,000 older people. We have also launched the model in other areas.

Our plans for 2015/16

  • We will roll-out our Integrated Care Programme into five new areas and use the findings of the Nuffield Trust’s evaluation to further develop the model.
  • We will influence the Government ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
  • We will work with our partner charities in the Department of Health’s Strategic Partnership to develop a sustainable service model to ease winter pressures in hospitals.
  • We will test digital solutions to improve the reach, accessibility and effectiveness of new and existing service models.
  • We will support governments and other agencies in 19 countries to improve access to health services for 3 million older people.

If you'd like more information about our work, download our Annual Review. Alternatively, you can download and read Age UK’s full reports of Trustees and Annual Accounts for 2014/15.

Annual Review: Our Big Moments 2014/15 (PDF 1 MB)

Report of Trustees and Annual Accounts 2014/15 (PDF 3 MB)

Our integrated care pilot has supported 1,000 older people to take control of their health.

How we're improving healthcare

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Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081