Tens of thousands of elderly people have died without getting the care they need, according to a charity which is calling for more social care resources.
Age UK cited NHS Digital figures for England which show there were 28,890 support requests for people aged 65 and over in 2021/22 where the person died without any of those services being provided.
The charity said that equates to more than 500 deaths a week – more than 70 a day.
Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: “There isn’t enough social care to go round and so some older people are waiting endlessly for help they badly need.
“It is heartbreaking that on the latest figures, more than 500 older people a week are going to their graves without ever receiving the care and support to which they were entitled.
“Nor can the blame for this parlous situation be placed on the pandemic, for while it certainly didn’t help, social care services were struggling to secure enough staff and funding in the years preceding it.
“Since then, all the evidence is that the position has not got any better and, on most measures, has continued to get worse.”
Ms Abrahams said long waits for social care cause “huge distress to older people” and place “intolerable pressure on their families”.
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The charity has written to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt saying: “When you were chair of the health and social care committee, you expressed deep regret at being unable to fix the problems faced by social care during your time as secretary of state.
“Now, as chancellor, the Spring Budget is your opportunity to help the millions of older people, often unheard and feeling ignored, who are waiting for good, reliable care and support to live with dignity.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Everyone should have access to good quality social care when they need it, and our thoughts are with all those who have lost elderly relatives and loved ones.
“We are providing up to £7.5m in funding available over the next two years to support adult social care.
“This will put the adult social care system on a stronger financial footing and help local authorities address waiting lists, low fee rates, and workforce pressures in the sector.
“We are also tackling workforce pressures by promoting careers in adult social care through our annual domestic recruitment campaign and by investing £15m to increase international recruitment of care workers.”