By Debbie le Quesne

New report highlights overwhelming challenges

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Reports, reports and more reports on the developing social care catastrophe – they tumble on to my desk every day it seems.

The latest offering is from the Institute for Public Policy Research, according to their website “the UK’s leading progressive thinktank.”

The independent charitable organisation assists “all those who want to create a society where every citizen lives a decent and fulfilled life” so we ought to be reading their offerings.

None of these documents make easy reading – never after a heavy meal, I’d advise – but The Generation Strain findings turn up some alarming facts that should leave our government ministers shaking in their boots.

In Britain, relatives and friends provide £55bn a year of unpaid informal care. Now, according to this report with a heads-up in the Guardian, “by 2017, for the first time, the number of older people in need of care is expected to outstrip the number of family members able and willing to give help.”

Some 1.1 million older people in England will need care from their families by 2032, an increase of 60 per cent, but the number of people able to care will only increase by 20 per cent. Quite how we are supposed to address this issue, I haven’t a clue.

For me, in this moment in time, the burden is overwhelming.

And the crisis is compounded by day centre closures, cuts in benefits, raising the bar for social care qualification and cut-backs in services like Ring and Ride.

Of course, there’s the small issue of funding too . . . Will our government please wake up!

Eight out of 10 local authorities now fund only “critical” need, while social care has faced cuts of 20 per cent, with more to come.

Isolation for the elderly has always been an issue and as we strive to keep more and more of them in their own homes for longer, loneliness looms menacingly on the horizon.

If the gloomy forecast from the IPPR is true we have even more challenges ahead than what I first thought.

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