The scale of the gathering social care crisis was laid bare this week by figures released by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) .
The findings confirm the huge concern felt by many about who will look after them when they are older. We are already in crisis in terms of caring for older people. 800,000 older people don’t get the care they need from either the State or their families. And with growing life expectancy, the problem will only get worse unless action is taken now.
The recent closure of the Southwark Circle Programme, a local mutual support group, which had been hailed as an answer to the looming care gap, will also raise doubts about the potential for social enterprise to step in to replace the traditional public sector, which has seen a severe funding squeeze and vast cuts in recent years.
More money is desperately needed in the care system but we also need to ensure that any cash injection is used more effectively through the use of better advice and information services.
That’s clearly a very serious issue and while we would in no way want to trivialise it, it would be sad to end the week on a wholly negative note. So, let’s just take moment to revel in the heroics of Judy, a seven-year-old Labrador, who this week, saved her owner’s life by jumping on her back and dislodging a piece of toast caught in the back of her throat.
This was the second of Judy’s life-saving acts; four years ago, she also saved the day bringing her 61-year-old owner, Sharon Brooks, a Mars bar when she fell into a diabetic coma.
Speaking about the latest incident, during which Miss Brooks started choking in her home, she said in the Daily Mail, “There was nobody else in the house and I just thought that was it – I thought I was a goner. I wouldn’t be here without her.”