Getting Old is Inevitable
Pardon me for getting old, is a quote from a reader’s comment on a page about a predicted crisis in Norfolk. This is what the article says in describing the pressure on the local authority in providing care for an ageing population:
“Norfolk is facing a “significant challenge” because an ageing population is heaping pressure on social services at a time when the money to tackle the problem is shrinking…”
Now forgive me for being pedantic but I wonder if that should read more like, “Cuts in social services budgets is heaping pressure on an ageing population!”
People in Norfolk are Getting Old
Norfolk County Council report that its budgets have shrunk dramatically in the last few years; the budget for their adult social services has gone from £235m in 2010/11 to £213.9m in 2012/13. That is a fall of £14.1m. Even I can work out that that is a lot of money and more so if you factor in inflation and as Norfolk points out, more older people, with more complex needs means more expensive care. This one authority estimates that the number of people within its boundaries will rise 77% by 2026. It says that the number of people in receipt of more than 10 hours home care a week has gone from 1,018 in 2009/10 to 1,410 in 2012/13. All those figures are from just one authority but national picture must be equally disturbing or even more so.
We are all Getting Old
I think that we have known for a long time that the population is getting old. It isn’t just a matter of stating the obvious but people that plan public services and write social policies have known about it for considerably longer than the rest of us and I wonder if they have been burying their heads in the political sands? It make me cross that we lived through the relative prosperity of the Eighties without making preparations for the next few decades.
Right Wing politics would have us all make preparations to meet our own needs whether that is health, disability, education or older age. All of that is fine if you have the means but many people don’t. I accept that most of us consume our own smoke but life has the tendency to bring the occasional forest fire of personal challenges that can see us choking so badly that we can’t see a way through. We all admire acts of generosity and personal sacrifice but if we are to mange as a society, to accommodate the needs of vulnerable people in the years ahead we might all be facing situations where we need to help out.
Getting Old in the Neighbourgood
Current social care is provided these days on stretched budgets and state provision is shrinking. Much care provision has moved from the state to the private sector and now is moving a further step away from local government in to the private and voluntary sector and
of course, individuals and families are urged to take on more and more responsibility to support vulnerable people. This is where the Neighbourgood comes in. Hopefully we will build a wide network of resources that will help people find and identify appropriate caring and support organisations to fill the gaps created by cash-strapped statutory agencies.