Research has revealed that more than two million pensioners struggle with the most basic day-to-day tasks and 70,000 of those with disabilities do not get any form of paid or unpaid care at home.
‘The Bigger Picture: Understanding disability and care in England’s older population’ has been produced to help councils and other organisations involved in delivering care understand the needs of key groups of older people.
The study, by Independent Age and the Strategic Society Centre, was brought out ahead of the Care Act.
This comes into effect from April 2015 and represents the biggest legal change to England’s care and support system for decades.
It places specific new duties on councils to help older people experiencing unmet needs, as well as carers and other groups currently independent of the local authority care system. People who pay for their own care, for example, will be encouraged to present themselves for assessment to their council.
Andrew Kay, head of policy and campaigns for Independent Age, said: “The ‘Bigger Picture’ gives new insights into disability and who provides and who receives care at a national, regional and local level.
“Local authorities are pulling out all the stops to get ready for the Care Act. But in the mad rush to get all the relevant training and systems in place, one issue risks getting seriously overlooked. With new eligibility criteria being introduced from April, how can we hope to meet the needs of older people who remain unlikely to get any local authority-funded care?
“Worryingly, our research revealed it is not just adults with so-called moderate needs who are missing out on care and support. By bringing together data from the census and the Health and Social Care Information Centre, we were able to consider how many older people who struggle with even the most essential activities of daily living (ADL’s) get the help they need.
“What we found was alarming. There are 70,000 older people in England who struggle with three or more aspects of self-care, who don’t receive any form of paid or unpaid care. These are people who report having difficulties completing three or more of the most basic tasks, whether it is getting in or out of bed or going to the toilet unaided.
“With less than a month to go until the act takes effect, there is work to do to make sure older people don’t have to struggle on their own.”