Home help for elderly could cut care admissions

The Federation said hundreds of millions of pounds could be saved by diverting more funding into preventive measures rather than caring for older people only when they become ill or immobile.

Home help for elderly could cut care admissions

Millions of older people could be spared traumatic hospital stays and costly long-term care if they were given more help to live independently in their own homes.

The National Housing Federation’s "In your lifetime" report warned older people were often denied the support they needed to continue to live at home – increasing the risk that they would end up in hospital or in a care home in the long run.

Around 2.86 million people aged over 65 in England need help with at least one routine task – and are continuing to rise rapidly.

The Federation said hundreds of millions of pounds could be saved by diverting more funding into preventive measures rather than caring for older people only when they become ill or immobile.

The average annual fee for a single room in a nursing home is £35,100. The number of people in residential care is meanwhile expected to rise to nearly 500,000 by 2025.

And the number of emergency re-admissions for people aged 75 in English hospital rose by 69% between 1999 and 2007. Preventive measures could cut these figures significantly, the Federation said. This kind of support also helps boost the health, quality of life and well being of older people.

But the level and range of support currently available for older people varies wildly across the country, and needs to become more uniform, the report said.

All older people should be able to access support in their local area. And local housing strategies – which set out how councils plan to meet housing needs in their areas – should specifically address how the housing needs of older people will be met, it concludes.

Federation chief executive David Orr said: "All too often older people can only access care and support services once they reach crisis point – when they end in hospital or in a care home.

"By investing more widely in simple preventive measures which help older people live safely at home for as long as possible, the number of hospital admissions and care home places could be cut significantly as a result.

"This would ease the burden on the NHS, save the public purse millions of pounds, and most importantly allow people to live where they want to be – in their home."

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