2/3 feel badly treated by Government over care
Published on 21 June 2013 12:01 AM
In the run-up to next week's spending review, the over-50s have voiced concern over the way the Government treats older people.
Over half (56%) of those who responded to the Age UK/Ipsos Mori poll said that they thought older people are treated badly by the Government - and of those, two-thirds said the poor care was one of the reasons for their belief.
Age UK polling also revealed that 1 in 4 respondents say that care of older people is in their top 3 policy areas when deciding on who they would vote for in future elections:
- Over three quarters (77%) of those interviewed felt the Government should invest more public money into paying for care
- Almost three quarters (73%) feel that the Government should do more to meet the care and support needs of vulnerable older people
This comes as Government figures reveal the depth of the social care crisis for England's frailest:
- Since 2010 local authority spending on social care has fallen by over £800 million 10.2% in real terms. This is in the context of an ageing population where during the same time period, the population aged 65 and over has increased by 8.6%.
- The total number of clients receiving care and support services aged 65 and over has declined from 1,148,000 in 2009/10 to 991,000 in 2011/12, a drop of 157,000 people or 13.7%.
- Community-based services have seen a drop of 16.3% for the number of people who can even access services from 958,000 people in 2009/10 to 802,000 in 2011/12.
As only those with low levels of savings are able to access local authority care services it would be difficult for these people to pay privately for services, so unless they have family and friends able to help it is likely that they will be living without support.
830,000 who need care receive no formal support
Age UK currently estimates that there are 830,000 older people who need care and are receiving no formal support.
Local authorities are increasingly restricting access to state-funded care to only those with substantial or critical care needs, and excluding those with moderate needs from the system:
- In 2005, half of councils provided support to low income pensioners assessed as having moderate needs.
- By 2012, only 25 local authorities funded the care of people with moderate needs; a year later as cuts bite even deeper this number has fallen by a third in just one year to 17.
These figures are an insight into the continuing bleak reality of the social care crisis where funding has failed to keep pace with demand. Many local authorities are working hard to try and protect social care provision, but are finding it an almost impossible challenge due to a toxic combination of chronic underfunding and austerity cuts to social services
'Those who need help with everyday tasks will be left without support' - Age UK
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK commented: 'It is deeply worrying that so few councils now offer care to people with needs assessed as "moderate" as this means people who are not able to carry out everyday tasks such as washing, dressing, preparing food and cleaning their teeth will be left without support unless they can afford to pay for it themselves. These figures paint a disturbing picture of a social care service pared back to the bone in the face of a growing older population.
'To stop the system spiralling further into crisis we need a firm commitment from the Government that the national eligibility criteria they will announce soon will be set at moderate. These poll results suggest that many older people will feel badly let down if only those assessed as having "substantial" needs can get help with future care costs, including being able to benefit from the lifetime cap on care costs.
'Good standards of care make both moral and economic sense. Well-funded social care can allow people to remain part of their community thus reducing the costs and additional pressure on the NHS by avoiding preventable hospital admissions.'
Falling spending on older people's home care
Age UK analysis of the Government's data on personal social services expenditure and unit costs shows:
- In 102 out of 152 English local authorities there was a fall in spending on older people's home care.
- This amounted to a gross total local government reduction in spending on older people's home care of £148 million between March 2011 and March 2012.
- There was a reduction in the number of older people who received local authority funded home care support - from 244,080 in 2010/11 to 224,745 in 2011/12 a drop of nearly 20,000 older people.
- Since 2009, the number of older people in England whose day care services are provided for, or arranged by their local authority has fallen by 23% from 88,498 in 2009/10 to 68,160 in 2011/12