Over 50s: Care system failing and our needs ignored


  • Pensioners urge political parties to take their needs more seriously with half feeling undervalued or ignored
  • Overwhelming majority say care system can’t cope and one in two worry about housing in later life 
  • Later Life Ambitions wants recent care and housing failings to be addressed as situation reaches crisis point 


Political parties need to overhaul their approach to care and housing in later life and pay more attention to the needs of older people, according to new research released by Later Life Ambitions.

The coalition, which brings together the voices of over a quarter of a million pensioners, has found that half of adults over 50[i] do not think any of the political parties value the contribution of older people or reflect their views in policies.

In particular, a quarter of older adults surveyed doubt the commitment of political parties to improving the care system, despite an overwhelming majority believing that the current system will not be able to meet their needs in the future[ii]. This current system has recently taken a turn for the worse, with new figures showing two thirds of councils have cut funding for residential homes[iii].

A further third believe that reforming the care system should be a number one priority for the current Government[iv], but Later Life Ambitions points to a recent failing that resulted in more than half of over 65s who should have benefited from a cheaper care bill missing out[v]. Under recommendations from the Dilnot Commission, the introduction of a lifetime contribution care cap of £35,000 would have benefited almost 40% of over 65s, but the actual cap of £72,000 will only benefit 16%.

The pensioners’ coalition also highlights failings in the housing sector, revealing that just 1% of over 60s live in later life housing – compared to 17% in the United States or 13% in Australia – despite the fact that specialist housing can lead to huge savings in social care by allowing people to live independently for longer and reducing hospital admissions and the strain on the NHS.

With 1 in 2 worrying about housing for later life[vi], and just 2% of new properties built each year designed for older people[vii], the coalition urges political parties to prioritise building suitable homes for older people.

Mike Duggan from Later Life Ambitions said: “The current care system and housing provision for older people are neither sufficient now nor sustainable for the future. We regularly hear concerns from our members about paying for care in later life or not being able to find or afford to move into housing more suitable for their needs, and yet little has been done to address this growing worry. We are heading towards a crisis point and so we urge all political parties to listen and take on board these concerns, and explore more imaginative funding solutions to support future need.” 


[i] 54% of adults over 50 feel political parties “didn’t very much” value the contribution of older people or reflect their views in policies


[ii] 26% of adults over 50 are concerned by the commitment of all political parties to the future improvement of care and 95% are “not confident” that the care system for older people will be able to cope with future need


[iii] According to a survey by the Commons health committee. For more information see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9034219/Elderly-in-crisis-as-councils-cut-care-home-funding.html  


[iv] 30% of adults over 50 think reforming the care system for older people should be a number one  priority for the current government


[v] While some of the core recommendations from the Dilnot Commission were adopted by the Coalition Government in the Care Act 2014, the recommended £35,000 lifetime contribution care cap was doubled to £72,000.  Under Dilnot’s plans almost 40% of over 65s would have benefitted from a cheaper care bill, but only 16% will benefit under the Care Act


[vi] 49% of adults over 50 say that lack of suitable homes /accommodation would stop them choosing a new home more suited to their age


[vii] An average 2,500 specialist homes for older people are built each year out of a total 125,000 new properties


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