With the number of over-85’s in need of social care around the clock set to increase by 2035, social experts believe that the way to go in reducing the number of unemployed elderly individuals is to extend the age of retirement. It is estimated that the number of elderly and retired individuals in England alone will have increased by over 33% just 15 years from now. Based on this data, pushing the age of retirement back would definitely favour the looming crisis in the UK social care sector. Dementia, which becomes very common after the age of 60, makes it all worse as more care would be necessary for the elderly around the clock with support expected to double to over 400,000.
With eyes on the imminent increase in the number of elderly individuals living independently, which is expected to go up by at least 60%, a 3.4 increase in number will call for the countermeasure of raising the pension age to 67 before 2030. The Lancet Public Health publication on Friday 24th August 2018 implied a consequent drop in the number of informal care workers. This calls for ministers to act on this looming challenge fast as it is “considerable” as put by Professor Carol Jagger of the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing.
The increase in the number of elderly individuals in the UK means there would be more spousal carers, who are just as likely to find difficulty in coping with their support and therefore are rendered unable to perform their duties as carers as efficiently as required, creating a form of mutual care relationship which is not recognised amongst existent social care policies in the UK.
Professor Carol Jagger also critiques the ideology of extending the retirement age as it would “…further reduce the informal and unpaid carer pool, who have traditionally provided for older family members.” Professor Jagger suggests that revising the retirement age would only worsen the pressure on the UK social care sector. A Population Ageing and Care Simulation (PACSim) model shows a trend in which the level of independence in elderly men increasingly outweighs that in elderly women. The conclusions of the simulation were arrived at after compiling health-related habits such as smoking as well as contemporary trends in diseases and socioeconomic information on education and earnings.
From professor Jagger’s point of view, the population of people over the age of 65 is expected to increase by 49.5% by 2025 and with more independence levels observed in men, health conditions such as dementia and arthritis, common above the age of 65, need to be adequately addressed for the female elderly population. Senior Local Government Association vice-chairman Nick Forbes reports £3.5 billion in addressing the looming social care crisis. There clearly exists an urgent need to fill the gaps and come up with a solution quickly.