In a 20 page report published today, the charity Age UK said that 800,000 people out of 2 million older people with care related needs do not receive any state or private support.
In its report Care in Crisis, Age UK warned that with public spending cuts and austerity drives underway, the number will cross 2 million between 2012 and 2014.
The charity report also claimed that Britain will spend £250 million less on older people’s care than a decade ago. There is a need for non-means-tested entitlements for all, a guarantee for enough medical care for low income older people, and financial products to cover additional costs of care for the middle and high-income older people, said Michelle Mitchell, the charity director at Age UK.
Age UK’s report is important since the Dilnot Commission is finalizing recommendations of funding future care and support in the UK and is due to submit in July.
Age UK has warned that the present system will prove inadequate and may collapse and has urged the government to spend between £2 and £3 billion for older people’s care.
The average shortfall for an UK resident is £60 each week, the Age UK research found. An independent research also found evidences of age discrimination, where older service users are allocated £53 a week compared to £78 a week for younger people.
“Care and support in England has reached breaking point, putting older people at risk and their families under intolerable strain. The figures we have uncovered beggar belief. How can any civilised society accept the prospect of one million of its older citizens going without any services to meet their care needs”, asked Ms Mitchell.
“When Andrew Dilnot’s proposals for reform are unveiled all parties must accept the unavoidable case for spending billions of pounds more. The alternative is to sacrifice the safety, health and dignity of those who need our help the most”, she argued.
“The industry has been saying this for a long time. The situation is augmented by local government cuts, we are hearing anecdotal evidence that assessments are being carried out with a view that people should not receive support unless they claim for it”, said Brian Tabor of IFA CareMatters.
“In terms of new products there should be a return to some kind of pre-funding arrangement. Specialist financial advice is extremely important, especially through the red tape and uncertainly of what happens when people go into long-term care”, he added.