‘Profound shift’ in the nation’s attitudes towards social care after coronavirus pandemic

More than eight in 10 people believe social care should be treated with the same importance as the NHS, research suggests.

And 62% said they now have a higher opinion of the sector since the coronavirus pandemic, according to Anchor Hanover, England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing for older people.

Its survey of more than 3,000 people was commissioned in May to mark three months since lockdown began on March 23.

Of 1,000 respondents aged 70 and over, more than half (54%) said the Government must prioritise social care reform.

But just over a fifth (22%) said they believe significant changes will materialise.

The provider said there has been a “profound shift” in the nation’s attitudes towards social care as the pandemic shines a light on the work of social care staff.

It is backing a call made by the trade association Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) for more support for the Housing with Care model.

This helps older people maintain their independence by staying in their homes for longer with varying levels of support, and can alleviate pressures on hospitals and residential care.

Chief executive Jane Ashcroft (pictured) said: “The Government has an opportunity and an obligation to demonstrate its commitment to our ageing population.

“Anchor Hanover’s research shows that 62% of the public now have a higher opinion of the social care sector than before the pandemic. Government must match public sentiment by delivering on its promises for tangible, sustainable social care reform.

“With pressure on social care continuing to deepen and with an ageing population, the need for innovative solutions is profound.

“Demand for high quality specialist housing and care is extremely strong. Government backing for Housing with Care could benefit older people with care and support needs, as well as everyone wanting to get a foothold on the property ladder and boost the economic health of the UK.

“The measures being called for by ARCO do not require vast sums of money, simply political will. We have waited too long and simply ‘going back to normal’ is not an option.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Pictured (c) Anchor Hanover.