More than 70k extra care places needed by 2025, says report

16 Aug 17

An extra 71,215 care home places will be needed by 2025 to keep pace with the increase in the number of older people, even if current trends continue for more of them to live in the community.

That finding has come from a paper in the medical journal The Lancet by researchers in the Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies Collaboration.

They found that between 1991 and 2011, people were living with low dependency or independently for an increasing number of years over the age of 65. 

On average, older men now spend 2.4 years and women 3.0 years with substantial care needs, and most lived in the community.

Researchers said: “There were substantial reductions in the proportions with medium and high dependency who lived in care homes, although, if these dependency and care home proportions remain constant in the future, further population ageing will require an extra 71,215 care home places by 2025.”

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “While it is great news that life expectancy is increasing, the Lancet study confirms our warnings that this will heap even more pressures on social care and the demand for services, which are already under huge strain.

“It is absolutely critical that the government brings forward its consultation for social care announced in the Queen’s Speech, and that it works with local government leaders in delivering a long-term sustainable solution for social care.”

Margaret Willcox, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “If the trend of more people choosing to stay at home continues, the number requiring care at home could be significantly higher.

"This is further evidence that social care needs to be everyone’s concern and a national priority.”

The Lancet paper followed a series of warnings about the costs of rising demand for adult social care.

Government figures last week showed the steepest rise in local authority expenditure in England next year would be on adult social services, by 8.6% from £14.4bn in 2016/17 to £15.6bn in 2017/18.

Last week also saw a Healthwatch England report find that the quality of care homes varies with basic standards sometimes missed.

A LaingBuisson report in May found care homes paid for by the state struggling under a “cloud of uncertainty and risk” losing about 2,000 beds a year.

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