Sarah O’Grady writing in the Daily Express regarding how Britain is failing its elderly with some of the worst pensioner health care in the developed world.
The UK comes a shameful 27th in a global assessment of health provision for older people – behind countries like Costa Rica and Columbia.
The poll ranks Britain as the 11th best place overall in the world to grow old out of 96 nations – a rise of two places on last year.
But British OAP’s do not enjoy the same generous pensions and retirement opportunities enjoyed by their peers in other countries says the Global AgeWatch Index.
the UK is well down the table when it comes to poverty levels among pensioners and also lags behind in the psychological wellbeing of older people, says the index, from HelpAge International
Many of Britain’s old people suffer through loneliness. But for factors such as physical safety, civic freedom and access to public transport, known as “age-friendly environment” the UK is number three.
Dr Ross Altmann the Government’s business champion for older people, said: “It’s worrying we are only number 27 for health, which covers life expectancy, physical and mental wellbeing and number 23 for employment and educational status of older people. We are trailing well behind many other countries.”
The index helps identify the services and systems older people need.
Jane Vass, head of public policy at Age UK, said: “There is clearly room for improvement and the UK should aspire to do better.
“It has a vastly underfunded social care system which is having a devastating impact on frail older people and their families. We need to look beyond someone’s age and strive for a society where people of all ages are valued equally.”
The best three places to be old are Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The worst is Afghanistan.
Millions of Pensioners Struggle to Look After Themselves
More than two million pensioners in England are struggling to cope with living independently.
They find even the most basic tasks, such as cooking, dressing or bathing, difficult, says a report.
Of those who get some support, 160,000 say it is not enough, the research for Independent Age charity and the Strategic Society Centre found. It also shows that 500,000 older carers who provide round-the-clock support for a loved one, 80 per cent do not receive any council services.
Official data showed 70,000 of the most disabled pensioners battling on alone with no care at all. The aim of the research is to help councils and care providers get ready for the Care Act, which from April 2015 will place new duties on local authorities help older people and their carers.
Simon Bottery of Independent Age said services offered under the Act are already threatened. He said central government must provide sufficient funding and”councils need to act now if promises are to be fulfilled.