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The ILC/Age UK paper “the end of formal adult social care?” is a must read for anyone interested in social care and older people. It highlights the ever increasing gap between the numbers of people who need social care & the numbers of people who actually get it & the consequent increased reliance on family support.

We have said before that we believe the Government’s policy on social care for older people is entirely about shifting responsibility for the care of older people from the state to the family and by family primarily spouse/partner and adult children. There is a marked increased in single people in the UK; 23 million people are single, widowed, divorced or never married and 4.3 million people over 50 live alone. Living alone does not mean people are without help of course, many carers are supporting older parents but not actually living with them. 1 in 5 people aged between 50 – 64 is a carer; 1 in 5 people over 50 will also not have children. It’s not hard to see a massive problem on the horizon. The Government is overtly saying that family especially children should provide more care to their elderly parents right at the time when the dramatic demographic shift means far more people will have no children at all.

There is no plan for people ageing without children because no thought is being given to them. People ageing without children whether by choice or not are still, despite the rising numbers, not featuring in mainstream discussions on ageing.

One of the biggest ironies for AWOC is that the main trigger point for people contacting us is when they become carers for their own parents. Confronted for the first time by a bewildering array of forms, NHS & social care services with different criteria that are not joined up & ageing parents needing help, they realise, often for the first time, just how hard it is to get any help without someone making it happen.

And they begin to think – who will be doing this for me when I get older or need help?

With an ever shrinking stare, a Government overtly saying it’s down to people’s children to help & discussions on ageing that still often don’t acknowledge their existence, who will be helping people ageing without children? It’s a question that at the moment still seems a long way from being answered

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