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Occupational therapists needed to provide vital social care to 1.2 million over-65s

Friday 17th February 2017
Occupational therapists could play a vital role in delivering social care to the 1.2 million over-65s who are currently being failed by the system. Image: Highwaystarz-Photography via iStock
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More than one million over-65s in the UK are not receiving the support they need to help them to enjoy a good quality of life in their own homes, a new report has revealed.

Older people's charity Age UK has released its 'Health and Care of Older People in England 2017' report, which shows that 1.2 million people are not currently receiving social care that could dramatically improve their lives.

However, this is something that occupational therapists can - and in many cases already do - assist with, by helping to support older individuals to stay in their homes and enjoy a decent quality of life, albeit with a few possible adaptations.

Commenting on the Age UK report, Julia Skelton, director of professional operations at the College of Occupational Therapists, stated: "If the government is truly serious about preventing frail older people being admitted to hospital, helping them to remain living in their own homes and maintaining their dignity, additional investment is needed now to support those who need help with basic daily living tasks.

"These are exactly the sorts of things that occupational therapists and their teams do day in, day out."

The report shows that over the past 12 months alone there has been a 17.9 per cent increase in the number of people requiring social care in their homes, with the figure having grown by almost half (48 per cent) since 2010.

As a result, one in eight people aged 65 and over in the UK is currently living with unmet needs, with this situation being largely attributed to cuts to community and social care budgets by the government in recent years.

Age UK is therefore calling on chancellor Philip Hammond to address this issue in his upcoming Budget speech in just a few weeks' time. He is being urged to make more funding available for community care professionals and occupational therapists so that the country's social care does not reach the state of "complete collapse" that the charity is concerned is on its way.

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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