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Thousands of elderly go hungry in residential care, research claims

View profile for Helen Caulfield
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Thousands of elderly people receiving care at home are not being given enough to eat or drink, according to new research.

An estimated 40,000 older people say meals are inadequate, or provided very late in the day, leading to worries they are becoming malnourished.

The survey of 70,000 adults receiving home care by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) found that five per cent did not always get ‘adequate or timely’ food or drink and a further one per cent felt their health was at risk, including from malnutrition.

Officials said the findings were representative of all 673,860 adults in England who have home care.

Another HSCIC report shows that the elderly are increasingly having to stay in hospital unnecessarily because of a lack of care at home.

As a result, the rate of delayed discharges – also called bed-blocking – increased by 15 per cent in the 12 months between 2013/14 and 2014/15.

The publication of the different research follows estimates in the caring profession that £4.6billion has been cut from social care budgets since 2010, a reduction of almost a third.

Charities say the reports are further evidence of how a  shortfall in local authority funding is directly affecting the elderly.

Director of Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, said: ‘Everyday we hear from older people and families struggling to get the care they need and these statistics explain why.

‘They show different aspects of a social care system in very serious trouble, with fewer older people being offered help and worries about the quality of what’s available for those lucky enough to be given a service.

‘Older people typically don’t like ‘‘making a fuss’’ but they deserve so much better.’

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