Eldercare news February 2019
Carers are leaving their jobs
A Carers UK report says more than 600 people a day in the UK are leaving their jobs because the demands of working and being a carer are too much. According to the charity, 15% of the population are working and caring.
And there are 1.3 million sandwich carers, looking after both young and old members of their family, say latest figures from the Office of National Statistics. The pressures are leading to more than a quarter suffering from stress or depression.
We’ve been talking about the sandwich generation since we set up When They Get Older in 2013. It’s one of the reasons When They Get Older exists – to support and share experiences with the growing number of people trying to be all things to all people in their families.
The right sort of exercise can reduce falls
University researchers have found that exercise reduces the number of falls in older people over time by around a quarter. They also found that exercise reduces the number of people experiencing one or more falls by around 15%. The evidence suggested that it is programmes focused on balance and functional exercise, such as Tai Chi, that do the most to prevent falls. The evidence for other types of exercise, such as resistance training or dancing alone, was less clear. And it was also uncertain whether exercise reduced fractures as the result of falls.
Care complaints rise in Scotland but overall not too much to worry about
The number of complaints about care services in Scotland has increased in the last four years according to the sector’s watchdog, the Care Inspectorate. But while complaints rose by 10% last year, to 4,696 complaints, the watchdog is satisfied that on the whole services are good. The percentage of services graded good, very good or excellent in all “quality themes” has remained consistently high in private and public care.
Health and social care strategy commissioned in Wales
The Welsh government has commissioned a new health and social care workforce strategy to meet the population’s care needs over the next 10 years. It follows the publication of ‘A Healthier Wales’. This is the Welsh government’s long-term vision for health and social care, where the two systems will work seamlessly together. The strategy is being produced by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and Social Care Wales, supported by the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University. The strategy development is expected to include input from the NHS and local government, the voluntary and independent sectors as well as regulators, professional bodies and education providers. The organisations said a draft workforce strategy will be developed by late spring and, following consultation, will be finalised by late autumn 2019.
The lifeline of television gets more expensive
The cost of a TV licence is set to rise for the third time in four years. The BBC says that the cost of the annual television licence fee will increase from £150.50 to £154.50 from 1 April. The rise is taking place at a time when the BBC is considering removing the free TV licence for the over-75s. Free TV licences for people over 75 are expected to cost £745 million a year by 2021/22, while government funding for the scheme ends in June 2020.
Care funding depends on where you live
Eldercare funding in England, Scotland and Wales is a postcode lottery, confirms a Freedom of Information request by equity release company Key. Older people in some areas are six times more likely to get full funding for their care than in other areas. The East of England far more likely to fully fund over-65 care, with 68% of cases fully funded. At the other end of the scale, authorities in the North East fully fund just 11%. It’s now two years since the UK Government said it would set out its plans for care funding in a Green Paper, but there is no sign of the paper’s publication. We’ll be looking at this subject in more depth in the near future.
Life expectancy slowing while death rates rise in Scotland
Over the last seven years Scotland has seen the slowest growth in life expectancy since at least the 1970s. Scotland already has the worst life expectancy for all UK countries. At the same time new research has found that that death rates in poor areas have increased by 1%. Experts have suggested that cuts to council budgets will have contributed to the figures, as well as the poverty trap and recent flu outbreaks.