Older people across Wales are not getting the care and support they are entitled to, says Age Cymru in their report Care in Crisis?
The report shows that the chances of older people being assessed for care needs depends largely on where they live in Wales and that many older people are struggling to get a care needs assessment – the so called passport to personal care.
It says even when they are provided with a care package it often excludes night time care, a time when many of them are at their most vulnerable.
The charity says that many older people need additional support at night time such as help with going to the toilet, taking medication, or simply being reassured. Others, particularly older people living with dementia, may need care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Yet the report reveals a postcode lottery in the provision of night time care services, with some local authorities offering no night time care at all.
A lack of night time support can have a devastating impact on older carers who are often left struggling to cope with little sleep and spiralling care costs. It can also place some of the most vulnerable older people in Wales at risk.
The report also highlights the frustration felt by many in trying to break down the communication barriers put in place by some local authorities, thereby making it difficult for older people to speak to the right person to get a care needs assessment underway.
The charity found that several authorities now use call centre type facilities where the operators rarely understand the stresses and strains older people are under when they are desperately seeking help and support.
Commenting on the findings, Age Cymru’s chair Meirion Hughes said:
“This report should act as a wake-up call to Welsh Government and local authorities. It is a basic human right of everyone to live a dignified life.
“These rights should not be denied because of failings in our social care system. Good quality social care is vital to prevent older people from reaching a crisis point where hospital admission or residential care become the only options at a great expense to the public purse.
“We need assurances from the Welsh Government and local authorities that vulnerable older people in Wales will be given the care and support to which they are entitled”.
The report was based on findings from: two Freedom of Information requests sent to Wales’ 22 local authorities; 4,667 calls about social care made to the charity’s information and advice line between October 2016 and October 2017; and the personal experiences of older people gathered during the same period.
About Age Cymru
1. Age Cymru is the national charity for older people in Wales.
2. We are the force combining Age Concern Cymru and Help the Aged in Wales.
3. We work with local Age Cymru Partners across Wales to improve life for older people.
4. Age Cymru is a registered charity 1128436.
5. Company limited by guarantee and registered by in England and Wales 6837284.
6. Registered office address: 13/14 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff, CF24 5PJ.
7. Age Cymru is funded by donations from the public, corporate partners, our trading enterprises and the Welsh Government.
8. Case Studies from Abergavenny and Cardiff are available for interview
For further information contact: Rachel Lewis, Policy Manager, Contact: 07739894923 or firstname.lastname@example.org