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Global elderly care in crisis

The Lancet
The world’s population is ageing rapidly at an unprecedented rate. The proportion of people aged over 60 years will double from about 11% to 22% between 2000 and 2050. Population ageing has profound implications for the burden of disease and social and health-care systems. How well prepared are countries to cope with these changing demographics? Unfortunately, current elderly care systems worldwide are already unable to address the soaring demand from fast growing numbers of older people, even in higher-income countries.

Crisis in care 2014, a report published on March 6 by Age UK, shows the depth and trend of the social care funding crisis in the UK, which has intensified over the past few years and is expected to continue unless there is substantial investment in the social care system. The findings in the report are shocking and disturbing: between 2010—11 and 2013—14, public funding for older people’s social care fell by a massive £1·2 billion (15·4% in real terms), even though it had been stagnant between 2005 and 2010. The proportion of people aged 65 years and older in receipt of social care services has declined from 15·3% in 2005—6 to 9·9% in 2012—13. In 2010—11, around 800 000 people aged 65 years and older received no support from public or private sector agencies. “The figures we have uncovered in this report are catastrophic. Older people who need help and are now not getting it are being placed at significant risk and families who care for loved ones are experiencing intolerable strain”, said Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK.

The UK is not alone in facing an elderly care system that is on the brink of disaster. The USA is “heading towards the caregiving […]

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