Care shortfall set to hit 1 million by 2030
Published on 24 April 2014 02:30 PM
Many relatives take on the informal care of older people. But the number able to provide this role is set to be overtaken by the amount of people who need care within the next three years, according to experts.
And by the end of the 2020s more than a million older people will have no adult children to care for them, a report by the IPPR think tank predicts.
Thousands ‘may be left to fend for themselves'
The widening gap comes at a time when care costs have risen. People are now typically spending £36,000 a year for a nursing home and an annual average of £25,000 for care at home, the report found.
But it says thousands now aged in their 60s and 70s may be left to fend for themselves as services become overstretched and the supply of relatives able to offer unpaid care lags behind demand.
It calls for the UK to follow the example of countries such as Australia, Germany and Japan, which have built specially constructed community institutions where care needs are shared between relatives, friends and neighbours.
Vulnerable older people need consistent, reliable, social care
Age UK's charity director Caroline Abrahams said while the community institution approach would be welcome, it would only be appropriate for people in need of 'modest' levels of care and support.
She said the approach would not be suitable for people with long-term conditions, who need reliable and consistent social care.
'The report argues for 'new community institutions' to step in and fill the gap resulting from declining numbers of family carers, but although this approach is welcome it is really only suitable for people who need modest amounts of support,' she said.
Community support cannot substitute social care
'It is not enough for older people who have more pronounced needs arising from multiple long-term conditions or dementia. Above all, these more vulnerable older people need consistent, reliable, high quality social care.
'Community support can supplement but cannot substitute for a properly funded system of social care. Unfortunately there is no avoiding the need to find a sustainable way of plugging the social care funding gap that is growing bigger every day.'
The IPPR report highlights the German government's plan to build hundreds of 'multi-generational' homes where a single place will offer care to older people as well as childcare and support for young people and mother and baby groups.
Copyright Press Association 2014