Almost two million Britons are looking after someone with dementia, an alarming Alzheimer’s Society report shows.
And that figure is set to soar by a million to 2.8million by 2035 – laying bare the country’s broken social care system.
A second study from Age UK shows that in total, 3.3million over-65s now spend their retirement caring for another person – an increase from 2.7million in the past eight years.
The huge cost and poor quality mean many people are forced to shoulder the burden of care themselves. Today’s Age UK figures show over-80s alone provide 23million hours of unpaid care every week [File photo]
An astonishing 970,000 are over 80 – meaning one in three of all people in this age group are now carers.
The two major reports show why the issue is set to become one of the key areas for Boris Johnson’s government.
The two charities last night called on the Prime Minister to urgently act on his vow to end the social care scandal.
The Daily Mail is calling for a quick solution to the crisis. Experts and politicians from all parties have backed our campaign to prevent 21,000 people a year having to sell their family homes to pay for care.
A second study from Age UK shows that in total, 3.3million over-65s now spend their retirement caring for another person – an increase from 2.7million in the past eight years [File photo]
More than 350,000 people signed the Daily Mail’s petition to end the scandal, which was handed in to Downing Street in October.
Charities, academics and celebrities – including Hollywood star Dame Judi Dench, broadcaster Michael Parkinson and Downton Abbey writer Lord Julian Fellowes – have backed the call.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly promised to act – but today’s Queen’s Speech is expected to contain no details as to how he will deliver on that pledge.
On his first day as Prime Minister in July he said he would end the crisis ‘once and for all’.
I need a loan to find home for husband
At 64, Julia Brutnell should be preparing for a relaxing retirement.
Instead she spends her days as a full-time unpaid carer for her husband Bob, 69, who has advanced dementia and other disabilities.
‘I’ve been lifting my husband every day for six years,’ Mrs Brutnell said.
‘And for the last two years I’ve been caring for him 24 hours a day, seven days a week.’
Daycare services cannot cope with the former BT manager’s needs. He also has Parkinson’s disease, Type Two diabetes and often wanders off – with one incident last month leaving him hospitalised.
Mrs Brutnell can’t afford up to £7,000 a month for a care home.
But when Mr Brutnell is discharged, Mrs Brutnell faces taking out a loan against the £270,000 family home in Chelmsford to pay for him to go into care.
She told the Mail: ‘A lot of people are in the same position – it is a huge injustice.’
But aside from committing £1billion in additional funding for social care next year – which experts say is enough to merely keep the system going as it is – Mr Johnson is yet to provide any further information.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday failed to provide a timescale when quizzed on Government plans.
‘We’ve made a very big commitments on social care in the manifesto, and we will meet those commitments,’ he said.
‘We’ve already been having the discussions about starting the work, and we absolutely will make the manifesto commitments that we set out very clearly.’
The key problem is that anyone who has more than £23,250 in savings, including the value of their home, is rejected for state-funded care and has to stump up the cash themselves.
The quality of that care is often appalling – with 22 per cent of homes for dementia patients classed as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission.
The huge cost and poor quality mean many people are forced to shoulder the burden of care themselves. Today’s Age UK figures show over-80s alone provide 23million hours of unpaid care every week – worth approximately £23billion a year.
Tragically, some 71 per cent of these elderly carers have their own long- term health issues.
The key problem is that anyone who has more than £23,250 in savings, including the value of their home, is rejected for state-funded care and has to stump up the cash themselves [File photo]
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: ‘Almost all of them willingly provide care for the person they love, typically a sick or disabled husband or wife, son or daughter, but by repeatedly failing to sort out our social care system, the State is exploiting their goodwill and often leaving them to manage incredibly difficult situations alone. Blessed as it is with such a substantial parliamentary majority, our new government is better placed than any in the last 20 years to refinance and reform social care.’
And Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Almost two million family and friends of people with dementia are shouldering the enormous pressure of filling the gaps where good care is neither accessible nor affordable. This can’t go on. Social care needs to be funded like other public services, such as the NHS and education, where the cost is shared across society.’
Meanwhile, Niall Dickson, who heads the NHS Confederation which represents organisations across the sector, stressed: ‘The plight of older carers is one of the unseen scandals of our failing social care sector. They should be seen as a great resource who should be supported. Instead, too often they are left to fend on their own, neglected and unsupported.’