PM urged to boost elderly care
David Cameron will "need to take bolder steps than any previous Prime Minister" in ensuring security and dignity for people in retirement, an open letter signed by 16 charities and organisations has said.
With a rapidly ageing population, which will see one in five people over 65 in five years time, more must be done to look after the older and frailer members of society, the letter to Mr Cameron said.
It calls for the Prime Minister to address the threats to older people of loneliness and inadequate housing, tackle a lack of proper care and support, and address their concerns in getting the necessary help to remain well and independent at home.
Action to prevent older people from requiring hospital or other forms of costlier care, or being caught up in unnecessary A&E visits and long hospital stays is also needed, while the letter also asks for an honest debate about how the cost of people living longer lives is met.
Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, one of the charities to have signed the letter, said: "The actions of the Prime Minister now will help determine the extent to which current and future generations really have security and dignity in retirement.
"With one week to go until the Queen's Speech, crucial decisions are needed on health, social care, housing and other areas. Clarity on these will encourage people to consider how they plan to fund and experience their older age and take responsibility for their own health and well-being as they grow older."
Think tank International Longevity Centre - UK has also signed the letter. Its director, David Sinclair, said: "Delivering a sustainable older society is critical for our future. Yet the UK continues to be unprepared for ageing.
"While the Government has recognised the importance of supporting older people today, we are lacking a coherent set of policy measures intended to address the long term challenges posed by an ageing population. It doesn't have to be this way. With a coherent vision about how we face up to the challenge of ageing we can drive-up health and prosperity across the generations."
The other organisations to have signed the letter are Anchor, the National Council for Palliative Care, the United Kingdom Home Care Association, the Campaign to End Loneliness, My Home Life, the Centre for Policy on Ageing, the Campaign for Better Transport, Care and Repair England, NBFA Assisting the Elderly, Elderly Accommodation Counsel, Southwark Charities, Lewisham Pensioners Forum, Wandsworth Older Peoples' Forum and Just Retirement.