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How will we cope with ageing population?
8:10am Tuesday 16th October 2012 in News
CONCERNS have been raised over the effect Government cuts will have on Swindon Council’s ability to provide services for the town’s rapidly growing elderly population.
The number of over-65s is expected to double over the next 25 years from 30,000 to nearly 60,000 – the highest percentage increase of any local authority in the west.
But at the same time, Swindon Council is having to reduce its bill for elderly care which costs around £16m a year and accounts for about 12 per cent of its budget.
Coun Brian Mattock warned there were significant “demand pressures” for adult social care.
He said: "All the forecasts are that they will continue in that upward direction.
“Obviously Government resources to local authorities, over the last three years, have been going in a downward direction – a 25 per cent to 30 per cent reduction – at the same time as the demand for adult social care has been going skywards.”
The cost of elderly care is estimated to be set to increase by £1million in Swindon next year.
Coun David Renard, deputy leader of Swindon Council, said: “We know that in order to meet this demand and to continue to protect the most vulnerable people in Swindon we need to prevent crisis and maintain independence by enabling people to make choices and do things for themselves.
“We also need to help people to build their skills and capabilities and to regain those skills that have been lost after an accident or illness.
“The council is conducting a demand enquiry programme across all partners working with adults and communities in Swindon to develop an understanding of the problems and issues and how we can address them.”
After the Second World War Swindon’s population was boosted by workers attracted by the town’s thriving industry and advances in diet and medicine mean many people live longer.
Mick Davis, 74, has three 15-minute visits from care workers a day and spends 23 hours alone.
He has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which means he is attached permanently to an oxygen supply, and is one of 3,500 elderly people in Swindon who have their care paid for by the local authority.
He compared being stuck indoors to “like being in a jail cell”.
The council is examining the possibility of increasing its reliance on volunteers to offer services to the elderly.