The number of older people in need of care is expected to outstrip the number of family members able to provide informal care for the first time in 2017, according to a new report published by the think tank IPPR.
The report shows that the average annual cost for an older person who pays for a typical package of care has increased to £7,900 a year, and to an average £25,000 for home care and an average £36,000 for a nursing home.
By 2030, an estimated 230,000 older people in England who need care of more than twenty hours a week could be left without family to help, according to IPPR. The report says that the number of people aged 65 and over without children to care for them will almost double before the end of the next decade and that by 2030, there will be more than two million people in England without a child to care for them if needed.
The report shows that older people are not simply recipients of care they are also providing it: intensive care provided by spouses and partners is expected to increase by 90% over the next fifteen years also.
The report says it is difficult to see how families will be able to provide even higher levels of care in the medium to long term. The report also shows that the fact that levels of employment for women with children and those over fifty are lower in the UK than in many other OECD countries suggests that if anything there is a problem of a lack of affordable, flexible and good quality formal care, rather than family members not providing enough care.
“The supply of unpaid care to older people with support needs by their adult children will not keep pace with future demand,” commented Clare McNeil, IPPR Senior Research Fellow. “Thousands of people in their 60s and 70s today could be left to cope on their own when they need care in the future, with overstretched services unable to make up the shortfall.”
“Britain needs to build new community institutions capable of sustaining us through the changes ahead and to adapt the social structures already in place, such as family and care, public services, the workplace and neighbourhoods,” she added.
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