Funding cuts by the government are starting to take its toll on the most vulnerable people in the nation. The impact of these cuts and the constantly increasing elderly population has led to hundreds of thousands of older people not receiving the proper care they need to continue their normal daily lives. Families who have chosen to care for their elderly are being placed under enormous strain.
The amount that has been spent on social care for the elderly has dropped by 14.5% since 2010, according to Age UK. This is due to the deficit reduction strategy that was introduced by the Coalition government.
Age UK have released a new report called ‘Care in Crisis’ which states that the number of people receiving the proper care has dropped dramatically. This is due to the shortfall of £769m in this sector, even though £400m was redirected from the NHS budget in an attempt to aid social care.
During the seven-year period from 2005/6 to 2012/13, the number of people who are over 65 years of age and above who received social care services declined by 27.2%. The figures dropped from 1.2 million people to 896000 people, although the age group increased by a million people. During the same period, the group most in need of care, the 85-year olds and older, increased its number by 30%.
To compensate for this deficit, most local authorities are now only providing care to those who have been assessed as having substantial needs. The elderly who experience problems with everyday tasks, such as rising in the morning, getting dressed, preparing meals and shopping normally gain a ‘low’ or ‘moderate’ assessment. These are the people most at risk of not receiving regular aid. This has increased the number of older people who now have to fend for themselves or turn to family for help.
According to the director of Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, this lack of funding will simply result in the affected people ending up in hospital wards. Not only does the shift come at increased financial cost, but it causes undue disruption and distress for the elderly.
At this point, the focus should be on keeping people in good health and receiving the proper care for as long as is possible.
Image credit: Elin Jones