Social care needs predicted to double in next 20 years

There has been growing concern over the cost of providing care for older and disabled adults. Spending on social care in English councils has shrunk by £7bn since 2010.

Research suggests there is going to be an explosion in social care requirements for Britain’s ageing population.

A recent study has concluded that health and social care services must adapt to the unprecedented needs of an older population with complex care needs, and warned the state should not rely on family carers as a sustainable solution to the problem.

“In the next 20 years, the English population aged 65 years or over will see increases in the number of individuals who are independent but also in those with complex care needs. This increase is due to more individuals reaching 85 years or older who have higher levels of dependency, dementia, and comorbidity. Health and social care services must adapt to the complex care needs of an increasing older population.”

Those who have dementia and at least two other major health conditions, such as obesity or diabetes, will double over the next two decades, it estimated, suggesting an extra 500,000 people will need complex forms of care.

The government has promised a green paper on social care funding will be published in the autumn.

Social Care Trends

The study also highlighted different trends for men and women, with the latter likely to experience higher levels of care dependency than their male counterparts by 2035, and fewer years of later life spent free of care needs.

Prof Carol Jagger of Newcastle university’s Institute for Ageing, and a co-author of the Lancet paper, said the gender differences highlighted the importance of focusing on disabling long-term conditions such as arthritis that were more common in women than men.

Simon Bottery, a senior fellow in social care at the King’s Fund thinktank, said: “This study is further evidence of the scale of pressure building up on social care services from an ageing population, which is compounded by growing demand from working age adults with disabilities.”

Read the Lancet article here 

And a press article of the report from the Guardian here.

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