According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there are currently over 10.8 million people over the age of 65 and this volume is growing – recently published figures have revealed that by 2030 there will be 1 million pensioners who will not have access to care services.

Why community care is important

As they grow older most people would prefer to stay in their own homes and at the heart of their community. Most of this demographic aren’t severely disabled and just need some extra support, they feel that they aren’t eligible for the services of a Care Home, and want to preserve their independence. Local authority budget savings mean that the provision of social care is limited and it is falling to charities and volunteer services to help the elderly preserve their lifestyle in their own homes.

Budget difficulties affect the elderly

A recent article in The Daily Telegraph shows that care in the community has been cut by a third in the last five years and an increasing number of pensioners are affected by the local authority budget deficits. As a result of this, older people are finding it difficult to have access to help with the most basic tasks, including washing and dressing. These are people who don’t have dementia or any other mental health problems; they just need a little extra support to retain their independent lifestyle.

Facts and figures

The government is aware of this problem and has introduced a scheme whereby care costs can be deferred and your house will be assessed as capital, but this only applies to those who have to go into a Care Home. If you have over £23,250 in assets and savings, this doesn’t apply to the value of your house, you will have to contribute to your care costs if you remain in your own home. These costs have led to a massive decline in those who can afford assistance with basic tasks, so that they can remain in their own homes.

The experts join the care debate

Speaking on behalf of the charity Scope, Richard Hawkes, the CEO, said: ‘we now know that community-based care has been hit hard…’ Dr Jose-Luis Fernandez of the London School of Economics (LSE) has suggested that, ‘councils have been quietly tightening their eligibility criteria for care, rationing it to all but those in the most severe need.’

Some solutions

Local religious organisations, volunteer services and charities may be able to help if you need support at home. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) publishes lists of local resources for those who need help at home and will also help with your community care assessment. This process can be complex, and varies from region to region so the CAB’s help is invaluable. With the numbers of pensioners in the community set to rise on an annual basis, we need to find an immediate solution to any form of care in the community.

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