CARE for the elderly in England is getting worse according to a joint report from the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust which only reports on the situation up to the end of 2014 and suggests that things may still be deteriorating.
Effectively it accuses the government of reducing the amount of money available for care for those over 65 which meant that the number of people actually being assisted had dropped by a quarter in the period under review which covered 2011 to 2014 despite the ever ageing population.
Government funded care which includes residential homes as well as home help is means tested and in many cases, those with their own properties who are unable to care for themselves are being forced to sell up and spend the money on care.
Some argue that this is only fair as if they have the funds albeit tied up in property then in difficult financial times, they need to pay for themselves whilst others suggest that they are being penalised for their prudence even though it is likely that they will have paid large amounts on tax and social security during their working lives.
Unsurprisingly, the government said that it was investing in the future of the elderly with £5 billion (€6 billion) being ear marked for joint ventures between the NHS and private care sectors. In addition it argues that it has allowed local councils to increase council tax by up to 2 per cent for investment in care and has found another £1.5 billion (€1.8 billion) for investment in care by 2019.
There is no doubt however that many elderly people are left in a very difficult position and even those companies in the private sector who supplied services to local authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to provide a good service and make profits so that a large number are actually closing down or going exclusively private.
Apart from the government, others such as charities involved with the elderly and local councils believe that the care system is at breaking point and that unless far more money is invested, things will get worse as the population continues to get older but not necessarily fitter.