The pandemic has dramatically increased the social care needs of the elderly – Charity association
The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically increased the social care needs of the elderly, with around one in four finding it harder to carry out daily activities, a survey suggests.
Some 23% of people aged 60 and over surveyed for Age UK said their ability to carry out daily activities had deteriorated since the first lockdown.
The charity surveyed 1,487 seniors about how difficult they found activities such as using the stairs, walking short distances, washing clothes, and preparing and cooking food.
He calls on the government to commit to taking concrete action in the Queen’s speech on Tuesday so that the sector can meet this growing need.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK said: “It is truly sad that the pandemic has had such an impact on the mobility, confidence and ability of millions of older people to live independently without additional support.
“Seniors’ health experts have warned that this will likely happen after months of forced isolation, inactivity and lack of stimulation and, unfortunately, our new analysis shows they were absolutely right.
“The inevitable consequence of this damage linked to the pandemic is that the demand for social care from the elderly is set to increase quite markedly, beyond what would have been otherwise expected.”
Ms. Abrahams said the gap between the health care system “we have and the one we need” is widening every day.
She continued: “With the horrors visited in nursing homes by Covid-19 and the heroism of our underpaid caregivers still fresh in all of our minds, it is more important than ever that the Prime Minister” corrects social protection “.
“A clear statement to this effect in the Queen’s Speech would give us hope that he and his government really intend to continue this year.”
The government has said improving the social protection system for adults remains a priority and will come forward with proposals later this year.
The Age UK survey found that 42% of those surveyed who previously had difficulty using stairs said it had become more difficult, and the same proportion who previously had difficulty walking short distances outdoors said it had become more difficult.
Respondents who had previously struggled with cooking and preparing food and washing also said that these activities had become more difficult.
One in ten respondents (10%) now have difficulty walking up and down stairs when they did not before, while 9% now have difficulty walking short distances outdoors.
The charity said experiencing months of fear, isolation and inactivity resulted in weakened muscles and deterioration in strength, balance and flexibility.
The cognitive decline of some older people progressed more rapidly due to the decrease in human contact, while others became less confident in going out.
The charity also conducted an online survey in January and February, with the participation of more than 13,000 seniors.
One interviewee, Betty, who is in her 80s and lives with four long-term health issues, said: “I have a harder time lifting and moving things around the house.
“My arthritis now limits me to peeling vegetables, changing and making the bed – my husband is 89, he helps me, but he has health issues that limit him in what he can do.”
Separate research found an 84% increase in demand for social protection advice in two years from people entering the system for the first time or those with increased needs.
Access Social Care, a charity providing free legal advice to people with social protection needs, said demand increased 84% between March 2019 and April 2021 for assessment advice.
Its annual State of the Nation report, carried out with Mencap, Age UK, Carers UK and Independent Age, found that the number of people calling helplines about their social protection benefits has more than doubled since March 2019.
And the demand for advice for unpaid caregivers has almost quintupled in two years, while the demand for advice on pricing and payment for social care has increased by 45% over the same period.
Kari Gerstheimer, chief executive of Access Social Care, said the system couldn’t cope without additional government funding.
She said: “The demands of local authorities to provide social care are increasing, while funding to pay for care and support has not increased at the same rate.
“The dramatic increase in calls to charity helplines is symptomatic of central government underfunding.
“Every day, millions of older and disabled people find themselves without the social care they need and deserve.”