More than one million elderly people are not receiving the home social care they need, the Age UK charity has said.
This was some 100,000 more people than were in this predicament a year earlier, it said.
The charity’s analysis, based on data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, calculated that more than half of the 1.1m people who said they struggled to wash had no help, as did more than a third of the 400,000 who had difficulty using a toilet unaided, and 210,000 out of 650,000 who found it hard to leave bed alone.
Its warning echoed that last month from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which said the government’s relative generosity to the National Health Service was “absurd” while councils were expected to cut £1.1bn from their social care budgets this year.
Age UK said this resulted in increasing costs for the NHS. Emergency hospital admissions for elderly people had increased by 22% to 2.2m a year between 2005-06 and 2012-13, while spending on social care had plunged by almost a third to £5.46bn.
Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “The immediate problem we face is that at the same time as the older population is growing, the government has cut social care funding to such an extent that the numbers of older people needing help and not getting it are rising exponentially.
“There are other damaging consequences from these cuts too: for example, as they work through the system the pressures on care providers intensify and it becomes ever harder to recruit and retain care staff. This downward spiral in social care and support for older people can’t go on.”
Izzi Seccombe (Con), chair of LGA community wellbeing board, said: “This report highlights the LGA’s very real concerns around decreasing funding for the basic services elderly people have come to rely on, such as help with washing, dressing and eating.
“We cannot ignore the fact that adult social care services are facing a £4.3bn funding gap by the end of this decade and that government must urgently invest money in a system which will be there to look after people now and in the future.”