The Guardian has reported on the shocking results of research which shed further light on the staggering predicted increase in care needs of people in the UK.
The research, published by The Lancet Public Health medical journal, predicts that within eight years there will be 2.8 million people over 65 who require nursing and social care. This is reported to be largely due to the anticipated rise in dementia. Cases of dementia-related disability are estimated to increase by 40% amongst people aged 65 to 84 in this period of time. The growth in dementia has been well-documented in recent news, but these figures highlight the true extent of the problem.
Professor Stuart Gilmour of the University of Tokyo published his own commentary to coincide with this research, stating that the NHS and social care system “faces a rapid increase in the number of elderly people with disabilities … at a time when it is uniquely unprepared for even the existing burden of disability in the UK population. This important research should be taken as a warning and a strong call for action on health service planning and funding, workforce training and retention, and preparation for the ageing of British society.”
It is clear that now is the time for the Government to take urgent action to address the complex problem of care provision. As a start, the research paper calls for more care homes, and more support for informal and home care arrangements with the help of tax allowances or cash benefits.
Rosie Nelson, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, commented: “These findings really bring home the extent of the problem we are facing. The statistics are alarming, and demonstrate the urgent need for a long-term solution to the problem of provision of social care. With resources becoming more and more stretched, this can only mean that the quality of care received by the elderly suffers, leaving them even more vulnerable.”