More home care jobs may need to be created over the coming years to help Britain cope with the evolving needs of an ageing population, a new report has indicated.
Published by the thinktank IPPR, the study revealed that the number of older people in need of care is expected to outstrip the number of family members able to provide informal support for the first time in 2017.
By 2030, an estimated 230,000 older people in England who need more than 20 hours of care a week could be left without family to help. Moreover, the average annual cost for an older person who pays for a typical package of care has increased to £7,900 a year, rising to £25,000 for home care recipients and £36,000 for those in nursing homes.
The number of people aged 65 and over without children to care for them will almost double before the end of the next decade, an issue compounded by the fact that many of these will also be relied upon to provide care and support to their spouses and partners.
According to the analysts, a lack of affordable and flexible formal care is the key cause of these problems, suggesting the UK needs to invest more in its home care sector, taking inspiration from countries such as Germany, Japan and Australia.
In addition to expanding traditional services, this could include measures such as establishing neighbourhood networks for older people to give and receive support, housing public services for different age groups under one roof and spending local public health budgets in strengthening community groups in the worst-performing areas.
Clare McNeil, IPPR senior research fellow, said: "Britain needs to build new community institutions capable of sustaining us through the changes ahead and to adapt the social structures already in place, such as family and care, public services, the workplace and neighbourhoods."
Fellow thinktank the King's Fund has also previously argued for home care and community-based services to be utilised more widely within the NHS, rather than focusing exclusively on primary and secondary care channels.
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