Demand for care home places set to rise

Blog posted

12th May 2011

There is no clearer evidence of the need for more care home provision than yesterday’s survey findings from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health.

The 85+ study shows that this portion of the UK population represents the fastest growing demographic with 2010’s figure of 2.6 million people aged over 80 forecast to rise to 4.8 million by 2030.

In simple terms, this represents an 82% increase in the required number of care home places – 630,000 extra places.

With limited research into the growing demographics of the country, studies such as this provide vital nuggets of information. And for the Government and those legislating to future-proof the UK, this is a clear indicator of what lies ahead.

If ever there was a time to wave a warning flag, this is it. Anyone working within the adult care sector has been saying it long enough and this study spells it out in black and white – we are totally ill-equipped for what lies ahead.

What is worrying is the daily news of residential homes closing down and day centres being forced to shut their doors due to funding cuts.

The issue isn’t a political one with the Government of the day; it’s the responsibility of everyone to recognise the growing problem and start addressing it.

The Law Commission report has been released today and the Dilnot Commission will follow in July. Both pave the way for discussion on a more encompassing and streamlined approach to the entire question of how provision is funded and structured.

But for me, one of the key aspects to this now, is getting the buy-in from local communities and local authorities where decisions on care provision are made. If they don’t understand the need and secure support to help make things happen, then the care home closure scenario is never going to be reversed.

Instead of seeing homes shutting we need to see purpose-built facilities emerging with dedicated, qualified teams of staff providing the highest standards of care. And we need transparent and robust regulation right across the care industry, not just in specific pockets.

This is a social issue which isn’t going to disappear overnight; it’s not something we can pretend isn’t going to happen. We owe it to our elder population to address it now – because don’t forget, that will include us one day!

Paul Walsh
MD Care and Operations