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‘Oldest old’ abandoned by care system as 800,000 struggle with essential tasks

Published on 17 May 2017 12:01 AM

Age UK is calling on political parties to put social care at the heart of their election manifestos as it reveals that a third of over 80s are receiving inadequate care and support.

  • High numbers of the ‘oldest old' (people over 80) are struggling with Activities of Daily Living like washing and dressing, according to Age UK research
  • Of those with substantial difficulties, more than half are not receiving the care that meets their needs
  • As the General Election approaches, Age UK demands that our next Government addresses this with urgency and has published its own manifesto for change. 

What is an Activity of Daily Living? 

Age UK's research into the failing social care system leading up to the General Election has focused on the staggering number of older people who do not get the help they need with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).

ADLs are simple and essential everyday tasks, including washing, eating, getting out of bed, dressing, going to the bathroom and walking.

30% of over 80s have unmet care needs

There are around 2,622,000 people over 80 living in England. Almost a million have at least one ADL, and thousands are affected by several different ADLs. Shockingly, as these figures show, more than half of those with three or more ADLs have been worst affected by the gap in availability of adequate social care.

Of the 926,000 over 80s with at least one Activity of Daily Living:

  • 53% get no assistance at all
  • Of those who do get help, for 70% it does not fully meet their needs 
  • 794,000 do not receive any help or receive support that does not always meet their needs

Of the 260,000 people over 80 with three or more Activities of Daily Living:

  • 33% are not receiving any help 
  • 56% have unmet needs due to not receiving enough help

Older people should get better social care: read Carmel's story

Age UK focuses on dignity for older people in its election manifesto for change

As the 2017 General Election approaches on 8 June, Age UK is urging the next Government to ensure that older people receive dignified care at home, in hospital and in care homes.

We are asking the Government to continue its ‘twin track approach' of emergency funding alongside developing an effective long term plan for sustainable social care.

Download our election manifesto: Dignity in older age and a life worth living (PDF 780 KB)


What you can do: support our manifesto

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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