Four in five local authorities in the UK report not having enough care for older people in their area, new research from Family and Childcare Trust reveals.
The Family and Childcare Trust’s Older People’s Care Survey –funded by Legal & General- finds that more than 6.4 million people aged 65 and over are living in areas that do not have enough older people’s care to meet demand.
Shortages in care are greater among certain types of care. While 84 per cent of local authorities in the UK said they had enough availability for care home places, that figure falls to 48 per cent for at home care, and 44 per cent for extra care homes. Most concerning, shortages are biggest among care for the most vulnerable older people: just 32 per cent of local authorities report having enough nursing homes with specialist dementia support.
Families navigating the patchy older people’s care system must also cope with wide regional variations in availability. While only 57 per cent of councils in the North East reported having enough older people’s care to meet demand in their area, that figure drops to 7 per cent in Outer London.
Families funding their own care could find themselves lost without a compass due to the current lack of information. Local authorities responding to the Family and Childcare Trust’s Older People’s Care Survey reported large data gaps regarding the numbers of self-funders in their area and the fees self-funders pay to providers. Nearly 3 in 4 local authorities in the UK were not able to provide data on the rates that self-funders pay.
Where information was available, UK averages calculated by the Family and Childcare Trust show that self-funder fees for all residential types are 20 per cent more expensive than fees paid by local authorities. At the average cost of £16 an hour for 21 hours a week of at home care, it will take a self-funder just 1 year and 1 month to go through £20,000 worth of savings.
Claire Harding, Head of Research, at the Family and Childcare Trust, said, “It is inexcusable that vulnerable people are left unable to find the care that they need.
“We urge Government to make sure there is enough care for everyone who needs it. In order to do this, we need robust data on where there are gaps in care, a funding system that truly meets the cost of providing care, and clear information for families.
“Without these steps, families will continue to struggle to find care and to meet the numerous care costs on their shoulders.”
Graham Precey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Legal and General, said:
“At Legal & General our aim is to help improve the lives of our customers and we can only do this if we can better understand the issues that they face. We know that finding care for loved ones can be a stressful experience for families, many of who are also struggling to find high quality childcare that supports them to work and boosts their children’s outcomes.
“Making sure there is enough local older people’s care not only provides our country’s elderly with the crucial support they need and deserve from us, but also gives sandwiched families the room to breathe and lead happier, healthier lives.”
Other key findings from the first Older People’s Care Survey:
The average yearly rate for one residential care place in the UK funded by a local authority comes to £27,113.
Local authorities in inner London face the steepest funding rates for residential care for older people at £649 a week per place –a whopping 40 per cent higher than the cheapest regional funding rate for residential care of £464 in North West England.