Director of Age UK warns elder care is on the brink of crisis
When being interviewed by the Guardian, the director of Age UK, Michelle Mitchell declared that elder care is on the brink of crisis due to government cuts in social care as councils have less money to fund in-home programmes. With an increasing number of elderly people, the crisis could hit as early as 2015.
At the moment there are approximately 900,000 elderly people who are assisted but by 2015 that number could rise to over one million based on research from King’s Fund. These elderly people are those which are in need of significant assistance but with government cuts would receive little to no aid.
According to Ms. Mitchell, this in the long term will cost Government much more as many of these elderlys will then end up in hospitals as opposed to receiving the in-home care they are not getting. In the interview, Ms. Mitchell notes that the number of elderly people in the UK who are being admitted to hospitals is already on the rise, even within the past few months.
She states that care is already in crisis and is expected to escalate if budget cuts continue. To date, local councils have made a 4.5% cut in care for the elderly this year and this is on top of a social care programme which is already underfunded at the best of times.
Age UK indicates that at present time in the UK there are almost two million elderly on pensions who live below poverty levels and that at least half that number is in what the charity claims to be ‘severe poverty.’ In the end, Ms. Mitchell states that it doesn’t really matter whether these people are ‘just’ managing or are in extreme poverty but that the cost of living is rapidly on the rise and this is what will force greater numbers of the elderly into crisis.