Elderly mental health 'timebomb'
BBC news online,
The number of
elderly people with dementia is set to soar - but social services will be
unable to cope, a charity has warned.
of the Elderly looked at existing provision in South East England - which
has a particularly high concentration of people aged over 65.
charity found many authorities do not have the necessary information about
future need in their areas.
says action is needed to avoid a "catastrophe in care
of the Elderly said that as the population ages, with increasing numbers
of pensioners, cases of dementia, depression and physical disability will
estimates the numbers aged 85 and over will rise from 1.1m now to 3.3m in
2046 - with the sharpest increase over the next decade.
warned services would be stretched "to the limit and probably
beyond" in the future because of funding shortages.
say the worst affected places are likely to be large unitary authorities,
especially south coast cities where there is a higher concentration of
people aged 85 and over, who have a greater risk of developing dementia.
report, commissioned by the charity from the Institute of Public Care at
Oxford Brookes University, looked at 26 local authorities.
found that many lacked reliable information which they need to plan for
future provision in their area.
said they had a commitment to providing specialist support, but some were
found to have much more developed programmes than others, meaning patients
faced a "postcode lottery" in terms of the support they could
expect to receive.
report calls for local authorities to work more closely with voluntary and
independent service providers to improve services and target them to
Webb of Friends of the Elderly told the BBC: "The kinds of services
we really need are quite simple services, social services in people's
homes, but they've got to be provided by specially trained people."
Dennis, chief executive of the charity, said more funding was needed
"so that older people with mental health needs can receive the
services that will enable them to live with the dignity and respect that
added: "There is going to be a dramatic increase in the number of
older people with dementia in the coming years and so we are calling for a
real commitment from the statutory sector to make the compact with
voluntary organisations really work.
with the proper planning and financial support, we can avoid a catastrophe
in the care provision for older people with mental health needs."
Ellis, of Help The Aged, said: "The chronic under-funding of social
care means that care homes, day centres and home services are reaching
breaking point. Those in most need of these services are often older
people with mental health needs."
added: "We need an integrated approach by government, local
authorities and the voluntary sector in order to make available a
comprehensive and flexible range of services to meet the needs of older
Evers of the Alzheimer's Society said: "Three quarters of people in
long term care have a form of dementia.
much long term care provision continues to assume that a 'one size fits
all' approach is appropriate for older people with mental health
Department of Health spokesperson said: "There have been record
levels of investment in older people's services - £900 million for
services to help promote independence, an extra £1 billion a year by 2006
for social care services and £56 million to end long waits for NHS
are of course aware of the projected increases in older people, and the
implications in terms of future care needs.
authorities and the NHS locally is best placed to assess local needs,
however, our policies are designed to ensure that frail older people
receive the care that they need and want."