‘Super carers’ needed to ensure elderly can be looked after at home

More than 150,000 elderly Londoners are not getting the care they need at home because of badly organised services, a new report warns.

Potentially harmful variations in levels of personal social care in different boroughs are likely to worsen as the number of elderly grows, it is claimed. As a result, many will be forced into hospital – adding to public costs – while some who remain in their homes are left to suffer without adequate care, it is suggested.

Mayor Boris Johnson should get new powers to oversee London’s health and social care, says the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank. It also calls for health and social care budgets to be pooled to fund new, better-paid “super carers”.

The elderly should be given more information about how to organise their state-funded care, and more control over budgets.

The findings come ahead of a major government report by Andrew Dilnot, former head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, on the future of care for the elderly.

It was commissioned in response to evidence of a funding gap, which could reach £1.2 billion by 2013/14, as the cost of paying for Britain’s ageing population grows.

Many old people now have to sell their properties to fund nursing home care, but the think tank’s Nick Pearce said: “The challenges of providing good quality care for older people in their homes can be met and afforded, if creative approaches are taken.”

Mr Dilnot is expected next week to recommend a more generous means test that will mean fewer people have to fund their own social care, and a “care cap” of about £50,000 before the state steps in to pick up costs.

Clare Thomas, from the City of London’s City Bridge Trust, which commissioned the report, said: “Reforming home-based care means older people won’t be forced into hospital before it is absolutely necessary. With the number of older people set to rise dramatically, we must act now to prevent a wholesale crisis in home-based care.”