Older people face an increasing battle to access care, a report by Age UK has revealed.
A spokesman Age UK said 51% (700,000) of all requests for formal care made by older people in the last 12 months were unsuccessful, the equivalent of 2,000 per-day or 80 every hour.
The charity said 23% were rejected with no further action, while 46% were rejected and referred onto other services, including their local Age UK, in the hope that they could assist.
Age UK said the figure shows how difficult it is to qualify for care within the shrunken adult social care system, which had its funding slashed by £86m between 2010/11 and 2018/19.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director said: ‘The fact that 2,000 older people are being turned down for care every day demonstrates both the enormous impacted by our ramshackle care system and how serious the problems it faces have become.
‘We don’t know what happens to these older people whose applications are rejected but inevitably some have no choice but to struggle on alone.
‘Good social care helps to keep older people fit and well, so if you are forced to go without it’s a recipe for emerging health problems to turn into crises, possibly leading to a hospital stay that might otherwise have been avoided and a decline in your health from which you may never fully recover.
‘Faced with too much demand and too little supply, our social care system is effectively under siege. Councils do their best with the resources they have but there are simply not enough to go round.
‘One result is this vast number of older people whose applications for help are rejected and another the long waits for an assessment to have your case looked into at all.’
Age UK will publish a report exposing the obstacles that people face when trying to secure social care.
‘Behind the Headlines: Battling to get care’, will draw on the content of the 35,000 calls the Age UK advice line receives every year, highlighting difficulties older people and their families face as they try to secure the help with everyday tasks like washing, eating and using the toilet.
Ms Abrahams said: ‘Our report is heart-rending stories of older people in need who are being comprehensively let down, and the nightmarish situations created for them and their families.
‘Real suffering is going on, with older people’s lives being diminished and, in some cases we fear, being cut short.
‘The Prime Minister has promised to fix social care and our new report shows why it’s so vital for our older population that he keeps his word. For some, tragically, it is already too late.’
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
‘The findings in this report highlight the human consequences of our historically underfunded adult social care system.
‘People of all ages should be able to live the lives they want to lead and councils are committed to doing all they can to make this happen.
‘There are different ways of meeting people’s needs but the serious funding and demand pressures facing adult social care, combined with councils’ legal duty to balance their budgets, inevitably means that difficult decisions have to be made.
‘A thriving voluntary and community sector is also essential in helping to support people whose needs do not meet the eligibility threshold, but again this needs ongoing funding so that councils can build local capacity.
‘This year’s Budget and Spending Review are important opportunities to address the crucial issue of funding vital adult social care services and lay the foundations for finding a longer-term, cross-party solution to adult social care, which the government has committed to achieving and which we at the LGA are happy to play our part in.’
Photo Credit – Pixabay