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Changes to care and carers for older people

An ageing population and in particular an increasing number of people aged over 80 will significantly increase the number of people needing care in the future. The total cost of long-term care is projected to increase 329%between 2005 and 2041 (from £6.6 billion to £28.4 billion). [1] With so much being focussed on cuts at the moment, could the growth in this area be something your organisation can take advantage of? This vast increase in cost has led to a re-think in how care is provided with a move away from domiciliary and care provided in nursing homes, to more care at home and independence supporting services that help people stay at home for longer. Given the high levels of public sector debt as a result of the recession, it is likely that all sectors will become more involved in delivering care in the future (see 'commoditisation of care'). Family and friends (already the largest proportion of care providers) including older people, will become increasingly important providers of care, this group of care providers will need support and assistance, is this an area in which your organisation can help?

Implications

With so much being focussed on cuts at the moment, could the growth in this area be something your organisation can take advantage of? This vast increase in cost has led to a re-think in how care is provided with a move away from domiciliary and care provided in nursing homes, to more care at home and independence supporting services that help people stay at home for longer. Given the high levels of public sector debt as a result of the recession, it is likely that all sectors will become more involved in delivering care in the future (see 'commoditisation of care'). Family and friends (already the largest proportion of care providers) including older people, will become increasingly important providers of care, this group of care providers will need support and assistance, is this an area in which your organisation can help?

  • There is a risk that changes to family networks, and increasing numbers of people living in single person households may mean that expecting families to provide more care is an unrealistic expectation.
  • Britain is likely to see increasingly complex spheres of care as those providing care also age.
  • As many older carers don’t identify themselves as ‘carers’, especially spouses, partners and other family members, there is a risk that carers may miss out on vital support.
  • There is a risk that without adequate targeted support and provision, that caring can be a cause of multiple disadvantage in later life, with older carers affected by the impact of caring on their physical and mental health, income and leisure time.
  • As the cost of care increases, providers may increasingly look to assistive technologies and telecare to reduce costs and transform care.
  • With the cost of care likely to exceed what the government can afford (particularly taking into consideration the high levels of debt as a result of the recession) it is likely that VCOs (particularly those harnessing volunteer labour) will be expected to meet many gaps.

Moving forward

There is a significant role and opportunity for organisations working with and for older people to enhance the provision of services for carers.

  • Can you offer support for carers when their caring role comes to an end (ie through bereavement, cared-for person moving into a care home?) Perhaps through peer support groups?
  • Can your organisation offer support services for the ‘cared-for- person e.g. befriending, day activities, respite?
  • What partnerships would your organisation need to make with other organisations to provide effective services for carers?
  • Could your organisation offer support for carers including advice on pensions, benefits, and employment? Or signposting to sources of information and support for carers about the ‘condition’ that the cared-for person is living with?
  • What role could your organisation play in helping people work out imaginative and effective ways of meeting their needs, such as holidays, education courses, company from a trusted person, paying for a pet, having counselling ? These may be paid for via individual budgets.
  • Could your organisation work with GP to refer career to appropriate services?

Want to know more?

A carers strategy - Carers at the heart of 21st century families and communities

Published by:Department of Health       

Date:2008

Format:Pdf

What is it? A carers' strategy setting out the Government's short-term agenda and long-term vision for the future care and support of carers.It raises the profile of carers and the need to support them in carrying on in a caring role.

The Future of social care

Published by:Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Date:2009

Format:Website and Pdfs

What is it? A landing webpage that collates all Joseph Rowntree’s work on the key challenges facing the future of adult social care including: the concept of 'obligations' and the 'intergenerational contract'; the concept of 'care'; the concept of equity; gender; lessons from overseas and devolved administrations; the parameters of the state, individual, family and community responsibilities.

How can funding of long-term care adapt for an ageing population?

Published by:Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Date:2007

Format:Pdf

What is it? A briefing that looks at why the current long term funding model for care in the UK is not sustainable and suggests how to improve it in the future.

Informal care and work after fifty

Published by: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Date:2002

Format:Pdf

What is it? A report exploring how people over fifty combine paid work with caring responsibilities.

Characteristics of care providers and care receivers over time

Published by: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Date:2006

Format:Pdf

What is it? A report that analyses the characteristics of people who provide unpaid care to family and friends, and characteristics associated with becoming a caregiver. It also looks at long term trends in the movement of older people into nursing or residential homes or ‘supported’ private households.

 

References

  1. Alzheimer's Society (2009) [back]
Last updated at 12:31 Thu 24/Feb/11.

Discuss

How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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