As we await more cutbacks from Rishi Sunak and Jerry Hunt in an attempt to plug the so called black hole in the British economy. A new poll suggests that the cost-of-living crisis is forcing the country’s elderly to cut back on the amount of money they spend on care.
The new Poll carried out by Age UK of 1,600 people over the age of 60 found that one in 10 people over 60 across the UK were planning to reduce or stop the care they receive because they cannot afford the cost. In addition, 22% were planning on cutting back on non-prescription medicines or specialist foods.
Impact of findings on health services and social care
Age UK said that these findings could impact on the health service and social care. The charity said that supporting people with their care needs is “essential” in keeping people fit and well.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “It is alarming that well over a million older people are already cutting back or stopping their social care across the UK, or expect to do so in the months to come, because they can’t afford the cost.
“This is potentially disastrous because if you are an older person with care needs, this support is not a ‘nice to have’ but essential in enabling you to stay fit and well.
“Our survey findings that even greater numbers of older people are cutting back or stopping medications or specialist food or expecting to do so, or skipping meals or expecting to do so, because of money worries, only add to our concerns.
“Without the care they require, frail and unwell older people are more likely to fall, become malnourished and dehydrated, fail to take their medication, and become seriously ill because an emerging health problem will not be noticed early enough to nip it in the bud.
Consequences of the cost-of-living crises
“Care workers are the only visitors many such older people receive each day, and they play a vital role in sustaining their mental and physical health.
“Without them, it’s inevitable that some older people will suffer, invisible and unseen, behind closed doors.”She added: “The cost-of-living crisis has made everyday purchases much more expensive and many older people living on low and modest incomes are finding it impossible to cope, with worse likely to come as they need their heating on more during the chilly weather.
“It’s terrible that we have reached a position in which the best financial option for some older people is to forego the care and support they rely on, or indeed a square meal or the pain killing gel that makes their knee pain bearable, but high prices over the coming months mean we can only see many more finding themselves facing this predicament.
Caroline Abrahams is urging the Government to restore the triple lock and raise both benefits and social care funding in line with inflation at next week’s Fiscal Statement. She says, “there’s no doubt that not to do so would be a false economy so far as the NHS and social care is concerned, as well as severely jeopardising older people’s health.”
A Government spokesperson said: “Social care is a top priority, and we are committed to bolstering the workforce and protecting people from unpredictable care costs – backed by £5.4 billion.”
The poll carried out by Age UK found A significant proportion of elderly people plan to cut back on the amount of money they spend on care. It is prophesying a bleak future for older people faced with the rising cost of living crises. The options available to them make bitter reading, having to choose between eating, heating, and their need for care and support.
The Government must keep its promise and reinstate the triple lock. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to older people becoming frailer and increasingly unwell, and more likely to fall, become malnourished and dehydrated, and fail to take their medication. And in the long run place an ever-increasing burden on an overstretched NHS over a long hard winter.
Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute Managing Director Bettal Quality Consultancy