Health and social care system failing to support elderly, Age UK finds

The health and social care system is failing to meet the needs of an ageing population, according to Age UK.

The Failing Safety Net report reveals many elderly people are stuck in hospital due to care not being put in place to meet their needs.

Amongst a number of care studies, the report highlights the story of Gary, whose mother, Dorothy, was diagnosed with dementia in 2012 and who died three years later.

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After failing to have his mother’s needs met by carers at home, Gary spent the last year of her life trying to have her admitted to a care home.

The local authority finally agreed to find Dorothy a placement but by this time it was too late and she died a few month later in hospital.

Gary said: “I felt annoyed, angry, disappointed. At times it was very demoralising and exhausting. It will live with me forever.”

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: “This can’t go on: we need to build up all our community health and social care services once again, gradually fill the yawning workforce gaps in both health and care, and do more to support the family members who step in to ‘hold the ring’ of a system under huge pressure – often ageing partners with their own health problems.

“In addition, policymakers must wake up to the reality that increasing numbers of older people are ageing alone and design services and approaches that are effective at reaching and supporting them too, rather than expecting a committed relative or friend always to be on hand to do this for them.”

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