THE DAILY lives of more than 51,000 older people across the county are impacted by a long-term health condition or disability.
A report compiled by Independent Age and the Strategic Society Centre shows half of all those aged over 65 in Worcestershire have limited day-to-day activities because of their health – rising to 70 per cent when only those aged over 85 are taken into account.
Around 15 per cent of over 65s provide unpaid care to a friend or family member while 36 per cent get attendance allowance for disabilities, 18 per cent get disability living allowance, four per cent are funded by the county council for home care and one per cent get direct payments to enable them to buy in the service they need.
Fewer than one per cent have had adaptations made to their home or equipment purchased by the council.
Simon Bottery, director of policy at Independent Age, said the research was intended to help local authorities and care providers to get ready for the Care Act, which comes into effect in April 2015.
“The Care Act is intended to ensure that older people receive better care and support but this new research highlights alarming gaps even in existing levels of care.
“Councils need to be acting now if the promises of the Care Act are to be fulfilled but national Government also has to ensure that there is enough funding to properly implement it.
“In particular, we need to properly fund preventative services which delay the moment when older people need more intensive care and support.”
James Lloyd, director of the Strategic Society Centre, said: “This research shows the scale of the challenge facing local authorities and national policy makers, if aspirations to support older people with prevention and information contained in the Care Act are to be achieved.
“We will need a revolution in how councils, communities and families support older people who struggle with different aspects of living independently.”