Friday, August 31, 2018

Caring for our elderly...or not

A study, published in the Lancet Public Health journal, analysed the projected health needs of the elderly between 2015 and 2035 explains the number of people aged 85 and over needing 24-hour care is set to double, says a new study, as an expert warns the care system is "at breaking point". It found that the number of 65-year-olds and over needing round-the-clock care is also set to rise by a third.

The study carried out by Newcastle University and the London School of Economics and Political Science, highlighted the fact that the fastest growing demographic in the UK is elderly people over 85, whose numbers are projected to more than double by 2035, increasing by 1.5 million. Many of these elderly will develop multiple long-term health conditions, with increasingly complex care needs.
Prof Carol Jagger, from the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing and senior author of the study, said the number of unpaid carers is in decline.
She warned that relying on unpaid family carers was not sustainable and said: "The challenge is considerable. Our study suggests that older spouse carers are increasingly likely to be living with disabilities themselves. On top of that, extending the retirement age of the UK population is likely to further reduce the informal carer pool, who have traditionally provided for older family members."
Nick Forbes, senior vice-chair of the Local Government Association, warned that "Adult social care services face a £3.5bn funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care," he said. "The system is at breaking point, ramping up pressures on unpaid carers."
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, urged the government to meet the challenge head-on and stressed that the burden on families is too great.
"The problem is that today there are far too few really effective joined-up services and social care is in sharp decline," she said. "The government's top priority must be to steady the ship and then produce a great set of proposals later this year to give our older population confidence they can get the help they need."

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