We can't wait for care
Millions of older people in England are waiting for care.
2.6 million people in England aged over 50 are unable to get care, including hundreds of thousands who are stuck on waiting lists for support or even just waiting to have their needs assessed.
That means millions left struggling to go to the toilet, eat, get dressed or wash because they can’t do these things unaided.
And there are many more providing unpaid care, often older and in poor health themselves, doing their best to keep their loved ones safe and well at home. They desperately need support from care services so that they can take a break from caring.
The social care workforce crisis is also putting a huge strain on care and nursing homes. There were 165,000 care staff vacancies on average in 2021/22 – a 52% increase on the previous year.
Age UK are campaigning for an urgent increase in funding for social care, to ensure that care services can recruit and retain the staff they require, and to help the millions of older people who are stuck waiting for the good, reliable care and support they need.
Many older people have already been waiting a long time for care – they can’t wait any longer.
The current state of care
The social care system is under extreme pressure:
- Underfunding – despite new funding announced in 2022, local authorities and care homes do not have the financial resources available to meet rising demand.
- Postcode lottery – despite the 2014 Care Act introducing a national system, local areas are still making different decisions about who gets care leaving many older people without enough, or any, support.
- Unmet need – 2.6 million people aged 50+ aren't receiving the care and support they need.
- Families are at breaking point – cuts in local authority care services have placed increasing pressure on unpaid carers.
Why Can’t I Get Care: Older people’s experiences of care and support
At Age UK, “why can’t I get care?” is a question we're asked a lot. This short report aims to explain the answer, drawing on older people’s experiences, as well as on what we know about how the social care system is supposed to work, and how it actually works in cash-strapped 2022.