The austerity-driven cutbacks in social care spending that have continued since the 2017 general election have taken a heavy death toll according to research by Age UK. They calculate that 74,000 or more older people have died waiting for social care, equivalent to 81 per day – more than three per hour.
1.7 million calls for help and support went unanswered, many of them because people were deemed not sufficiently serious to meet tough eligibility criteria for social care.
Age UK’s manifesto for the 2019 election estimates that 4.1 million of England’s 10 million people over 65 are in poor health, living with one or more serious long term health condition: more than a third of these (1.5 million) have an unmet need for care – ranging from help with washing, dressing and using the toilet to more intensive support in a care home.
Age UK says it estimates the number will rise to 2.1 million by 2030 if governments fail to act. It is calling on the next Government to secure the immediate future of care through investing at least £8 billion over the next two years. 1.6 million older people are living in poverty. Around one in ten older people live with frailty.
Improvements in healthy life expectancy have peaked in recent years, especially in deprived areas, where at age 65 people can expect 7 fewer years in good health than those in the wealthiest areas.
Social care spending on over 65s was cut by 25% between 2010 and 2018.
While Health Secretary Matt Hancock and NHS England are obsessed by digital solutions and apps, 3.4 million over 65s have never used the internet, and another 500,000 have done in the past but no longer do so. Most over 75s are not online.
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