Rural elderly face ‘terrifying’ social care crisis

By William Eichler | 25 January 2018

Elderly people living in rural parts of the country are facing a ‘terrifying’ social care crisis.

A new report from community interest company Rural England found older people living in the countryside faced ‘acute’ challenges partly due to the high cost of service provision.

The report said those aged 65 and over comprise 20% of the rural population - higher than the 16% of the urban population.

Rural populations are more dispersed so it is more costly to provide social care services while the lower population density also prevents economies of scale.

The report called for greater focus on rural-proofing in Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships, which it said had paid 'scant regard' to the challenges faced.

Chair of Rural England’s stakeholder group, Margaret Clark, said: ‘This report highlights worrying evidence about the poor provision of, and access to, home-based social care services for elderly individuals in rural England, which have severe consequences for the health and wellbeing of an increasing number of people in rural communities.

‘We urgently need government and service providers - at all levels - to work together to find a solution to the delivery of good quality social care in rural areas and to stave off what will otherwise become a crisis situation.

'Those living in rural areas deserve better.’

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