Age UK challenges Government on care
Published on 04 December 2013 12:30 AM
As the debate over the future of social care continues to intensify, a new survey by Age UK estimates that 13.7 million people aged 50 or over in Great Britain (63% of those interviewed) think the Government treat older people badly, and when asked what makes them think that way an overwhelming three quarters (74%) cited poor standards of social care.
The survey by Ipsos Mori(i) also showed that 7 out of 10 (70%) people aged 50-64 do not feel confident that older people receiving care services are treated with dignity and respect.
These results come at a time when spending on social care continues to drop and many older people who need care are finding it increasingly difficult to access the system and get the help they need. On the eve of the Autumn Statement, Age UK is issuing its ‘Five challenges to Government on care.' These challenges lay out the key factors that the Charity believes will be pivotal to determining whether the current social care reforms succeed or fail.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, says:
'Our survey shows that three quarters of 50-65s think the social care on offer is nowhere near good enough for their loved ones today, or for themselves tomorrow if they should need it as they grow older. Two thirds of them think the Government treats older people badly as a result, highlighting how strongly they feel about our creaking social care system. The core of the problem is that funding for social care has failed and is still failing to keep up with ever increasing demand, putting the whole system on the verge of collapse.
'The Government deserves credit for bringing forward long overdue reforms to the social care system that could make a real difference if properly implemented, but we are worried that the social care ‘coat' being designed for 2016 is being cut to the inadequate ‘cloth' that the Treasury is allocating . A great new system on paper is pointless unless there is sufficient funding in place.
'Hospitals are full to bursting already and winter is still to set in, so there will never be a better time for the Government to commit to meeting the true cost of a decent social care system than in the Autumn Statement.'
In 2011 Age UK laid out how the social care system could best benefit older people in its report ‘Care in Crisis'. The ‘Five challenges to Government on care' picks out those areas which will be critical to the success of the proposed reforms - it reflects on what the Charity asked in 2011 and the situation to date, and sets out the key challenges that need to be addressed to make the system work in 2016.
Age UK makes the following challenges to the Government in the document:
1. The new national eligibility threshold must be set at moderate or its equivalent
2. There must be enough investment into the social care system so it is fully funded and able to deliver care and support to older people who need it
3. Changes must be communicated to older people and their families so they understand ‘the deal' on offer
4. The rates for care that go towards the cap or are paid by local authorities must be fair and reflect the true cost of providing decent quality care
5. There must be a straightforward and fair way to complain
For ‘Five challenges to Government on care' go to the following document: After the Care Bill becomes law and the Dilnot reforms are implemented: how much better will the system be for older people? (PDF 96KB)
Notes to Editors
Media contact: Liz Fairweather
Telephone: 020 303 31718
Out of hours: 07071243243
[i] Ipsos MORI Capi Survey for Age UK (October 2013), 939 adults aged 50+ across GB.
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
About Age UK
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).