A new report was published today by the Institute for Public Policy Research.
“The generation strain: Collective solutions to care in an ageing society”
It highlights the contribution that family, friends and community have made to later life care, and helping people to live well for longer.
It also however has a worrying message about a change in demographics. It suggests there won’t be enough younger folk around to support our ageing population, from as early as 2017!
Fortunately it also suggests solutions to this potential issue.
We need to transform our understanding of what ‘social care’ is in order to help people live decent lives, to put in place the right building blocks to prepare for an ageing population, and to reduce future demand for care.
Most care for older people is not provided by the state or private agencies but by family members, at an estimated value of £55 billion annually. However, as the babyboomer generation ages, a growing ‘family care gap’ will develop as the number of older people in need of care outstrips the number of adult children able to provide it. This is expected to happen for the first time in 2017.
Overstretched services will struggle to provide extra care, with two-thirds of all health resources already devoted to older people and social care services facing a funding crisis. Adult children and partners will take on even greater caring responsibilities and more people, particularly women who outnumber men as carers by nearly two to one, are likely to have to give up work to do so.
Our plan should be to ‘build’ and ‘adapt’: to build new community institutions capable of sustaining us through the changes ahead and to adapt the social structures already in place, such as family caring, public services, workplaces and neighbourhoods.
To read the full report-