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More than one million over 65s will need 24hr care by 2035, study finds

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More than a million people over the age of 65 will need round-the-clock care during the next 20 years, according to new research published today.

The number of over-85s requiring 24-hour care will almost double to 446,000 in England by 2035, the study by Newcastle University and the LSE found.

“The challenge is considerable,” said report author Prof Carol Jagger from the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing.

“Our study suggests that older spouse carers are increasingly likely to be living with disabilities themselves, resulting in mutual care relationships that are not yet well recognised by existing care policy and practices.

“On top of that, extending the retirement age of the UK population is likely to further reduce the informal and unpaid carer pool, who have traditionally provided for older family members.”

The report warns that relying on the informal carers who provide around £57bn worth of care in the UK is not a sustainable solution.

However there was also some positive news with the number of over 65s not needing care increasing to 8.9m, a 60% rise on the 2015 figure. The growth in independence will mainly be seen in men.

At the Ronald Gibson House care home in Tooting, south London very few people – staff or residents – were surprised by the projections.

“We’re all living longer, so what do people expect?” asked 90-year-old Diana, a resident at the care home.

Victor Njoku says more funding is the key
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Victor Njoku says more funding is the key

Centre manager Victor Njoku said that the time has now come for everyone to start talking about future care needs and for the government to start taking it more seriously.

He said: “What we need is funding, funding and funding.

“We’re busy here all the time, which is great and we have a waiting list and our residents love it here.

“But this is an issue everyone needs to start thinking about and talking about.

“If I were to meet the prime minister tomorrow, the one word I would say to her would be funding.”

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