Editorial: Charlie Cooper, writing in the Independent newspaper on July 7th, quotes the charity, Age UK:
'For the first time, more than a million have a care need – such as getting out of bed, going to the toilet, preparing food or taking medication – but receive no help from the state, self-funded care services, or from friends, family or neighbours.'
He tells us that Age UK's view is that savage cuts to social care budgets under the Coalition, combined with a growing elderly population, had led to an exponential increase in the number of people left to struggle alone.
My interest in disability prompts me to wonder how many of the million old people are blind or nearly blind, deaf or nearly deaf, have dementia or deteriorating mental faculties. How many have limited mobility or use a wheelchair? How many have depression or a mental illness? And then – how many of these conditions are getting worse by neglect?
One million is the number now. What will it be in two or ten years' time after the government has further cut the welfare budget – and the number of elderly people living longer has continued to increase?
We would have to be very naïve to wait for the government to put it right. That is not going to happen.
Help for some elderly people will come from ordinary people in their neighbourhood who have seen their plight, rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in. Decent people who decide to help in this way won't have to go very far to find someone in need.
July 14th, 2015
Age UK: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/