Despite the valiant efforts of those working in social care, the rising number of older people in the UK is putting the system under strain. The truth is that while our lifespans are getting longer, the amount of time we stay fit and healthy doesn’t always keep pace and each year 1.3 million people request care.
Legal & General believes this is not just a challenge for Government and the NHS to tackle but that all of us can play a role in helping people live better for longer. Our new report Caring for Britain highlights some of the new kinds of thinking, new styles of leadership, new technologies, new types of housing and clinical advances that are needed, and the people making them a reality.
In the report we also hear from those working in social care and those who need its services and could benefit from these new innovations. These include 82-year-old Marion, who was stuck in a rehabilitation unit because she couldn’t find suitable accommodation after an accident left her wheelchair-bound. And we meet Phyllis, who is in her early 80s and has provided all the care for her husband Peter since he had a stroke.
There is no national system of long-term care as there is a national system of healthcare, which is free at the point of delivery. The biggest contribution to care is made by informal carers like Phyllis, and in total the value of the work they do is estimated at £140 billion. But with so many new options and innovations becoming available, the earlier that families begin planning, the easier it will be to build a care ecosystem tailored more carefully to their specific needs.
I hope after you have read Caring for Britain that you will share my sense of excitement and possibility.
Writing the Foreword of the report Professor David Grayson says: “I hope after you have read Caring for Britain that you will share my sense of excitement and possibility. The possibility for good later lives; for extended healthy lifespans. The possibility that many more Britons can enjoy greater choice in later life. The possibility that digital technology and artificial intelligence offers for greater personal independence for longer and for more personalised health care.”
Among the initiatives creating those possibilities are our own investments, such as our £20 million partnership with the University of Edinburgh to create the Advanced Care Research Centre, which aims to develop better and more affordable care for people in their own homes and supported care environments. We’ve also developed a network of later living villages and we are working with Newcastle City Council to build a new kind of residential care home in the city.
But Caring for Britain is not just a report about our own initiatives but a close look at innovative services and solutions being developed by people with a strong sense of purpose, many of whom are driven by their own experience of the social care system. These include Max Parmentier, whose own experience led him to launch Birdie, a company dedicated to helping older people stay in their own homes. And we hear from Rachel Crook, the founder of Lifted, which provides innovative support and guidance to families and carers.
Read the report to find out how the future of later life care is becoming a reality today, from 24-hour monitoring of people’s health in their own homes to services learning lessons from companies like Rightmove and Amazon to make it quick and easy to find the care that’s right for each individual. And find out how technology, data and artificial intelligence are all being harnessed to give families and those working in the care sector the tools they need to provide the care they want to give.