City Examines Rising Demand For Elderly Care

An overhaul of specialist care spanning the next decade is being undertaken in York to cope with the dramatically increasing number of elderly people among the city’s population. York Council has drawn up a series of proposals as it faces critical decisions in ensuring that health provision is adequate to cope with the changing age profile in the city, which is a prime retirement location. The number of York residents aged over 85 is expected to increase by 77 per cent in the next 20 years and the number of older people with dementia is predicted to rise by 36 per cent in the next decade.

The problems are being compounded by the financial crisis in North Yorkshire’s health provision, especially in York itself.

The Selby and York Primary Care Trust is facing one of the biggest challenges nationally as it attempts to make almost £23m in cuts to balance its books and meet Government deadlines by March 31 next year.

Coun Sue Galloway (Lib Dem, Westfield), York Council’s executive member for adult social services, said: “We are facing some extremely tough decisions. We need to make sure that we can cope with the number of elderly people who are living in York. We all know it is a wonderful city to live in but with more people retiring here, it is bringing a whole series of problems which we need to face up to.”

Proposals include introducing specialist facilities in council care homes such as additional services to care for elderly sufferers of dementia and extra beds for those needing intensive personal care.

Facilities to help older people with mental health problems like depression are also in line to be boosted, along with a range of respite, day and carer services to allow people to remain in their own homes.

York Council’s housing and adult social services advisory panel will consider proposals to develop a strategy with health and housing partners spanning the next five to 10 years at a meeting this month.

Councillors will also discuss proposals to convert 11 beds at Grove House to provide an acute care unit for intensive personal care patients.