Authorities urged to act on forthcoming care changes

ALMOST 200,000 pensioners in Yorkshire and the Humber are living with a disability or health problem that leaves them struggling with basic tasks such as cooking, dressing or bathing.

Simon Bottery, Director of Policy at Independent Age

The figure, almost half of the region’s over 65s, was revealed by charity Independent Age and think tank the Strategic Society Centre, who are urging local authorities to do more to prepare for upcoming changes in older people’s care. Their revealed “substantial” disparity in levels of disability across the region. Barnsley has the highest levels of over 65s with limited day-to-day activities, at 62 per cent, while the figure is much lower in North Yorkshire, at 45 per cent.

The report, which analysed data from a number of sources including the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing, found that across England, almost half a million older carers provide round the clock care to a loved one, but more than 80 per cent do not receive any council services.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In total, 70,000 of the most disabled pensioners do not get any form of paid or unpaid care at home. Among those supported by care workers or families, 160,000 report inadequate support, saying it only sometimes or hardly ever meets their needs.

The research aims to help councils and care providers to get ready for the introduction of Care Act next April, and places new duties on local authorities to offer more help to older people and their carers.

Simon Bottery, director of policy at Independent Age, said the report highlighted “alarming gaps” in existing levels of care.

James Lloyd, Director of the Strategic Society Centre said the research showed the “scale of the challenge” facing local authorities and national policymakers.

The report also looked at Internet connection, which it said would become a key part of home local authorities establish and maintain support for adults and carers.

Yorkshire and the Humber had the lowest levels of Internet use among over 65s at home - just 45 per cent, compared with nearly two thirds in the South East.