The number of older people needing care will surpass the number of family members able to provide it by 2017, a think tank has warned.
An Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report estimates that our changing family demographics will mean that by 2030 there will be more than two million people aged 65 and over, with no child living nearby to give care if needed.
The government said it was working to make sure more people can get good care at home.
The IPPR report estimates that, of the two million people it says will have no child living nearby to care for them in England in 2030, 230,000 will need more than 20 hours of care per week.
Clare McNeil, senior research fellow at the centre-left think tank, told the BBC: “There won’t be the family members needed to provide the types care that people see at the moment. That will mean there is more pressure on social services, and stretched services like the NHS.
“We need to have a fundamental rethink about the way that we how we look after each other later in life.”
She said the government needed to invest in community networks and make it easier for people to combine care and work.
To fill the care “gap”, the report suggested the UK should:
- Widen the use of “neighbourhood networks” to reduce social isolation as well as providing care and support
- Invest in strengthening community groups
- Follow international examples, highlighting Japan’s 10-year nationwide campaign “to train one million dementia supporters”
- House public services for different age groups, such as childcare and care for the elderly, together in the same buildings as is done in Germany
- Strengthen employment rights for carers
What do you think? Is your local community well set-up to support older people who are living on their own? Share your thoughts using the comment box below.