A quarter over-60s have seen their health decline in the past year as pressure builds on broken social care system, chilling new figures show
The health of many pensioners has deteriorated during the pandemic, piling further pressure on the broken care system, a major survey showed yesterday.
Age UK found that a quarter of over-60s – almost 4million in all – believe their ability to do everyday tasks has declined over the past year.
The charity said living through the fear, enforced isolation and inactivity caused by the pandemic has sharply accelerated the social care needs of significant numbers of the elderly.
These needs will have to be met by the care system yet 鲍里斯·约翰逊（Boris Johnson） is not expected to lay down concrete reforms for the sector in today’s Queen’s Speech. When he took office almost two years ago he promised he would take action.
Age UK found that a quarter of over-60s believe their ability to do everyday tasks has declined over the past year and that living through the fear, enforced isolation and inactivity caused by the pandemic has sharply accelerated the social care needs of significant numbers of elderly (档案照片)
The Local Government Association said the lack of a detailed plan was a ‘bitter blow’ for care staff and the millions they help. And former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘The public would be astonished if we do nothing to fix the glaring gaps in the social care system.
What IS on Johnson’s agenda . . .
TODAY’S Queen Speech is already expected to include Bills on crime, jobs training, the environment and the NHS.
Other measures could include:
- A Bill to force voters to prove their identity at polling stations
- A ban on gay conversion therapy
- Restricting prosecutions of British soldiers who fought in Northern Ireland during the Troubles
- An overhaul of the asylum system
- Legislation to promote more house building
- Replacing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act to allow early elections
- A drive to ‘level up’ the country and spread opportunities so people can prosper in local areas
- A Building Safety Bill to better regulate the safety of high-rise buildings
‘We have all been humbled by the amazing job done by care workers in the last year, which is why there is so much public support for fixing the system.’
The Age UK survey found that the situation had become even worse over the past year, with pensioners being cooped up in their homes for very long periods.
The charity said muscles have weakened, balance and flexibility have been undermined, and in many cases dementia has progressed more quickly than would otherwise be expected. This means more people will require social care than had been thought.
Age UK’s research found that 1.2million over-60s who had difficulty with stairs before the first lockdown in March last year report this activity had become even more difficult. Around 1.5million now struggle to walk short distances – when previously this was no challenge. The survey found that 3.8million of the over-60s – 23 per cent – found everyday activities had become tougher.
The charity called on the Government to commit to concrete action in the Queen’s Speech today to strengthen and expand the provision of social care in England.
Spokesman Caroline Abrahams said: ‘The fact that the pandemic has intensified some older people’s need for care, while battering the workforce and undermining care services, means the gap between the care system we have and the one we need here in England is growing by the day.
‘With the horrors visited on care homes by Covid-19 and the heroism of our underpaid care workers still fresh in all our minds, it is more important than ever that the Prime Minister “fixes social care”.
‘A clear statement to this effect in the Queen’s Speech would give us hope that he and his Government really do intend to follow through this year.’
鲍里斯·约翰逊（Boris Johnson） (图为) is not expected to lay down concrete reforms for the sector in today’s Queen’s Speech. When he took office almost two years ago he promised he would take action
The analysis was based on an online survey that attracted almost 15,000 responses from older people and their carers. Edna, 谁是 85 and living with multiple long-term conditions, told Age UK: ‘My mobility had deteriorated badly. I can walk to my gate but that’s all.
‘Even a small amount of effort leaves me breathless.’
Health minister Nadine Dorries said there would be a mention of social care in the Queen’s Speech.
The LGA said one-off government grants and the social care council tax precept were ‘sticking plaster solutions’ when long-term funding was needed.