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Are older people receiving the care they need at home?

We explore how to access home care services and how to deal with medical emergencies, in light of Age UK’s new report

Are older people receiving the care they need at home?

Older people are not receiving the care and support at home that they need, according to a new Age UK report.

The Failing Safety Net outlines that there are more than 465,000 over-65s living with three or more health conditions and who also require help with three or more everyday activities, such as getting out of bed and getting dressed.

Of these, only about one in three receives care at home, with the remainder relying on family, or managing without.

And with over-65s accounting for more than half the increase in emergency hospital admissions in the last two years, the Age UK report argues that, as it stands, ‘the health and care safety net for unwell older people living with frailty at home is not nearly as strong as it should be, exposing those living alone without support from family and friends to particular risk.’

Which? Later Life Care: free, independent and practical guidance on making care choices, wherever you live in the UK.

How to find local authority care and support

If you’re seeking support for yourself or a loved one at home, it’s hard to know where to start.

Use our care services directory to quickly see your options. It lets you search for home care providers (described as ‘domiciliary care’) close to you – you simply need to enter your postcode.

You can also use the same tool to find nearby support services, including for people living with dementia, and care homes in your area.

What is home care?

Home (or domiciliary) care is where a careworker of personal assistant visits you or your relative at home, to help ensure that needs aren’t left unmet. This can include anything from washing and dressing, to helping with paying bills or simply lending an ear.

It’s worth considering if you or your loved one finds it increasingly difficult to cope with daily routines and if they’d prefer not to move into sheltered housing or a care home.

We won’t go into every detail here, but the Which? Elderly Care website has plenty of free advice to help you find support, including:

For any other questions you may have, consult our entire range of home care articles.

How to deal with a medical emergency

Age UK’s The Failing Safety Net explores how going into hospital is often the trigger for an older person to receive more care at home, often as a result of a crisis such as a nasty fall or serious infection.

In an ideal world, risk would be identified at the first sign of trouble, and adjustments would be made and support given in case of emergency. However, the reality is often different.

Our emergency admissions to hospital guide provides practical advice if a loved one has to go to A&E, and our must-read article on ongoing care and support explores next steps.

The whopping price of care

We recently found that one in 10 older people face care costs of over £100,000, yet only 12% of adults aged 55 or older have put aside money to pay for potential future care needs.

This research formed part of our policy report – Beyond Social Care: Keeping Later Life Positive – published ahead of the Government’s proposed Green Paper on social care in England, set for release this autumn. We think that any policy proposals that put the burden of planning for care on ordinary people may be doomed to fail.

Have you started saving for possible future care needs? Join the debate on Which? Conversation: Have you planned for care in later life?

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