Research shows almost half of UK adults think the government isn’t sufficiently concerned about the needs of older people
Research released this week shows over two thirds (69%) of people say that social care should be a top priority for the Government with almost half (43%) believing the Government doesn’t care about the needs of older people.
The findings come after a challenging year for the social care sector, with care homes hit worst by the ravages of the pandemic. The devastating effects of Covid-19 follow years of proposals and broken promises to reform the sector which have been kicked into the long grass by successive governments.
This research demonstrates that the belief amongst politicians that there is a lack of public interest in the issue of adult social care, something identified in a recent report by Engage Britain, simply isn’t true. UK adults want the government to fix social care.
Polling on the issue was carried out by the charity MHA, which has been caring and supporting older people for more than 75 years, to coincide with the launch of its campaign #FixCareForAll. It supports more than 18,000 older people through care homes, retirement living and community-based services aimed at alleviating loneliness and isolation.
MHA Chief Executive Sam Monaghan said: “Our research clearly shows that the public now sees social care as a top priority for the country, and that this should be a key part of the Government’s ‘building back better’ agenda.
“For far too long older people and their needs have been neglected by successive governments of all political persuasions and the time has come to finally fix care for all.
“We have all seen how devastating Covid-19 was to care homes, how many people lost loved ones during that time and how consecutive lockdowns have affected older people. It has made all of us think about what’s important and the kind of society we want to be.
“Over the last 20 years the adult social care sector has borne the brunt of many broken promises. There have been green papers, white papers, commissions, reviews, yet still the system remains broken.
“What we now need is decisive action from Government. We need to make sure care is properly resourced, we value our care workers, people have a say in their care, funding is transparent and accountable and delivered through financial regulation, and there is a seamless pathway with health services.
“The time for talking is over. Ageing isn’t an abstract concept, it’s something which we will all have to face one day so it’s in all our interests to get this right going forward. We need a clear plan to support the future funding and framework to support older people. We have a growing population of older people who deserve respect and certainty for their future.”
Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The pandemic has exposed the deep-rooted cracks in our failing social care system, demonstrating the desperate need for urgent reform. Never again must the 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and their loved ones face such hardship and loss, like they’ve experienced over the past year. Even now, some care homes are still lacking resource to facilitate or increase visits, meaning families are only seeing their loved one in care for a fleeting half an hour every few weeks.
“It’s hugely worrying to hear rumours of social care plans being shelved yet again, after years of waiting, years of our most vulnerable people being ignored and passed over. Now more than ever, the Government must bring forward their long-awaited plan to completely overhaul our social care system; this should provide free, personalised care and put it on an equal footing with the NHS. It’s also vital that proposals support and develop the essential skills required for the workforce to deliver the best care people with dementia deserve and so desperately need.”