1.5 million have an unmet need for social care

New research from Age UK has found that approximately 1.5 million older people in England have an unmet need for social care and some 2.1 million could be in need of help by 2030 but will not be receiving it.

Arguing that at least £8 billion needs to be invested over the next two years to restore social care to acceptable standards, the charity estimates that one in seven people aged 65 and over struggles with everyday tasks such as getting out of bed, going to the toilet, washing and getting dressed. It is now calling on the government for care free at the point of use as well as a standardised national eligibility threshold for accessing care and a standard process for applying.

Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, said: "For the last few years, these figures have been getting worse as governments dither over how to overhaul a system of care that everyone agrees is no longer fit for purpose. Some older people are fortunate and receive good care from committed staff, which makes a huge difference to their lives, but far too many are going without the support they need to live decently and with dignity."

In July, he House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee said that the government must immediately spend £8 billion to restore social care to acceptable standards and then introduce free personal care over a five-year period.

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “The next government needs to bring forward substantive proposals for the future of adult social care as soon as possible, to reassure all those who use and work in this vital service and address unmet care needs.

“Reforming and improving our adult social care and support system will help keep our population living healthier, longer and more independently without the need for using social care services, which are under constant pressure from rising costs and demand. We need an honest debate about what the future of care and support should be and how it should be funded in the long-term.”