Whilst the future funding of social care remains far from certain, one study published in the Lancet Public Health Journal last year, outlined the scale of the problem. The modelling study carried out by Newcastle University and the London School of Economics and Political Science, broadly concluded that by 2035:-
The scale of the problem is further highlighted by the likelihood that these elderly people will develop multiple long term health conditions, such as dementia and diabetes, leading to increasingly complex care needs. The report goes on to predict that the number of people aged over 65 with dementia and at least two other diseases will double by 2025 and treble by 2035. These complex care needs would seem unlikely to be adequately met without improved co-ordination between different services and specialities.
Such challenges will also mean that the current reliance on unpaid carers, i.e. where people rely on the input of family and friends, is likely to be increasingly unsustainable. The Study suggests a number of factors as to why this might be the case:-
older spouse carers are increasingly likely to be living with disabilities themselves;
relatives are increasingly working and/or living further away;
extending the retirement age of the UK population is likely to further reduce the informal carer pool
In terms of care generally, the researchers of the report made an interesting categorisation of elderly peoples care needs as high dependency if they needed round-the-clock care, medium dependency if they needed help at regular times daily, or low dependency if they required support less than daily and were generally looked after within the community.
With the over 65’s projected to rise by 60% by 2035, it follows that there will also be an increasing number of adults living independently in their own home with help.
Commenting on the report Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said “the problem is that today there are far too few really effective joined-up services, and social care is in sharp decline”.
This is reinforced by a comment made by Nick Forbes, senior vice-chair of the Local Government Association, who said: “Adult social care services face a £3.5bn funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care”
Either way, one thing is certain, the over 85’s as the fastest growing demographic in the UK, are set to further ramp up the pressure on social care services.
Cecilia Trueman is a part of ILA (Independent Living Advisers) which helps elders live in their own homes independently and happily and helps them choose in their own time when and where they need to move into a Care home. For more information about elderly home care services, home care assistance and care at home support provided by ILA visit website www.ila.life