Over two million older people living at home in England experience difficulties with key aspects of living independently, such as cooking, dressing or bathing. Meanwhile, almost half a million older carers provide round the clock care to a loved one, but over 80% do not receive any council services. That’s according to a new report from Independent Age and the Strategic Society Centre, which also estimates that:

 70,000 of the most disabled pensioners do not get any form of paid or unpaid care at home.

 Among those supported by care workers or families, 160,000 report inadequate support, saying it only sometimes or hardly ever meets their needs.

Older people in need are much more likely to get disability benefits than receive local authority support.

The Bigger Picture report analyses data on the 65+ population in England from the Census, Department for Work and Pensions, the Health and Social Care Information Centre and the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (2011-2013). It provides a detailed picture of disability and care needs among England’s older population at a local, regional and national level. The aim of the research is to help councils and care providers to get ready for the Care Act. The Care Act comes into effect in April 2015 and places new duties on local authorities to offer more help to older people and their carers. The research looks at levels of unmet need for social care, analyses publicly funded support to the over 65’s and considers levels of entitlement to care following the introduction of the Care Act. The new report is published a week after the National Audit Office warned that more than half of all councils are not well placed financially to provide the services they hope to within the next five years, and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services expressed concern that further cuts in social care budgets look set to erode vital care and support services to disabled and older people. Simon Bottery, Director of Policy at Independent Age said: “The Care Act is intended to ensure that older people receive better care and support but this new research highlights alarming gaps even in existing levels of care. Councils need to be acting now if the promises of the Care Act are to be fulfilled but national government also has to ensure that there is enough funding to properly implement it. In particular, we need to properly fund preventative services which delay the moment when older people need more intensive care and support.” James Lloyd, Director of the Strategic Society Centre said: “This research shows the scale of the challenge facing local authorities and national policymakers, if aspirations to support older people with prevention and information contained in the Care Act are to be achieved. We will need a revolution in how councils, communities and families support older people who struggle with different aspects of living independently.” Notes to Editors: For media and interview requests, please call: Clare Thorp, Head of Media and PR on 07525 767 521 or 0207 605 4252 clare.thorp@independentage.org or Rebecca Law, Press and Media Manager on 07545 209 589 or 0207 605 4291 rebecca.law@independentage.org

The Census 2011 recorded 8,660,529 individuals aged 65 and over in England, of whom 8,369,594 live at home in the community.

 National Audit Office report published 19.11.14 http://www.nao.org.uk/report/financial-sustainability-of-local-authorities- 2014/

 ADASS press release published 18.11.14 http://www.adass.org.uk/financing-social-care-time-for-society-to-makeits-choice/

 ABOUT ELSA The Bigger Picture analyses data from Wave 6 (2012-2013) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), which is a longitudinal, multidisciplinary social survey undertaken every two years, of a representative sample of the English population aged 50 and older. The Bigger Picture only used data for those aged 65 and over. ELSA was designed to understand the unfolding dynamics of ageing and the relationships between economic circumstances, social and psychological factors, health, cognitive function and biology as people move through retirement into older age. The sample first assessed in 2002 included more than 11,000 participants, and they have been re-interviewed every two years since then.

 About Independent Age Founded over 150 years ago, Independent Age is a growing charity helping older people across the UK and Ireland through the ‘ABC’ of advice, befriending and campaigning. We offer a free national telephone and email advice service focusing on social care, welfare benefits and befriending services. This is supported by our free Wise Guide series of practical handbooks, and wide range of printed guides and factsheets. We also provide on-the-ground, local support, provided by a network of over 1,500 volunteers offering one-to-one and group befriending.For more information, visit our website www.independentage.org Speak to one of our advisers for free and confidential advice and information. Lines are open Monday to Friday between 10am - 4pm. Freephone 0800 319 6789 or email advice@independentage.org

 About the Strategic Society Centre The Strategic Society Centre is a London-based public policy think-tank. We apply evidence-based strategic policy analysis to complex societal problems. Our vision is a strategic society identifying and responding to the challenges it confronts. Our work is independent, objective and free of partisan association. The Strategic Society Centre is a registered charity (No. 1144565) incorporated with limited liability in England and Wales (Company No. 7273418). www.strategicsociety.org.uk

Share this article

Print this page