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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Age UK calls for a shift towards joined up health and social care

Updated: Jul 26


Age UK’s latest major report details how many older people today are left with ‘poor mental or physical health, hospitals and care services under immense pressure and struggling to retain staff who are very tired, altogether leading to fewer older people receiving the help they need.’


Read what The Carer magazine has to say as it comments on the report’s key statistics:

  • Between 2015 and 2020 there was a 24% reduction in the number of nursing posts in social care and a 12% reduction in the number of district nursing posts.

  • Since 2017–18, 36,000 fewer older people are getting long-term care from their local authority.

  • An estimated 1.6 million people aged 65+ have unmet needs for care and support.

  • 45% of older people were concerned about their ability to access their GP and 40% of older people did not feel they had enough support to manage their health conditions.

  • One in five (20%) unpaid carers are aged 65+ and many are having to pick up many hours of support.

  • 85% of older carers are worried about whether they would be able to keep caring or providing support.

This is the broad-brush context in which Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends seek to provide more spiritual and emotional support to older people and carers.


Paul Farmer CBE, chief executive of Age UK said: ‘In many ways, the picture painted by our new report is deeply depressing, but what strikes me the most is the wonderful opportunity we have now to switch to a much more effective approach to providing health and social care services for older people in their own homes and in care homes. After all, if we don’t do it on the back of findings like these, when will we?’

‘It’s clear that we need services to reach out to older people much sooner, particularly those living at home, quite often alone, whose health is fragile or declining. This would not only be great news for older people, and their families, providing much needed reassurance, it would be cost-effective too. And it would go a long way to relieving the enormous pressure on hospitals as well.’

‘Sometimes older people do need to go to hospital of course, but at the moment too many are doing so for want of the help they need at home. Then if they are admitted they are at risk of getting stuck in a hospital bed once medically fit to leave. That’s incredibly miserable for them and also jeopardises their recovery.’

‘We must do better by our older population and I’m sure we can. For example, some of the new Hospital at Home services and Virtual Wards are great – we just need a lot more of them, everywhere – with voluntary organisations like Age UK playing a full part alongside others.’


 

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