Care (Older People)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:59 am on 6th September 2011.

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Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford 10:59 am, 6th September 2011

Indeed. This issue is about using resources wisely. However, it is very well discussing how resources are used now, but the problem lies in the future. At the moment, one in six people are over 65, but by 2050 one in four people will be over 65, and resources will only be able to stretch so far.

We spend a lot of time—rightly so—talking about financial education for young people, but I am enormously sympathetic to the suggestion that we should consider providing free financial health checks for people in their 50s and early 60s, possibly funded by using unclaimed assets in banks and insurance companies, and possibly delivered by financial advisers, charities or through the new money advice service. The provision of good quality care is an emotive matter for all involved. Standards of care, and indeed of care homes, differ dramatically, not just across the country but across constituencies. I recently visited Amherst Court in Chatham, a purpose-built Avante Care and Support home that supports residents with dementia. I was really impressed with what it offered and could tell that a lot of thought had gone into the building and the care provision. Such quality, however, has to be paid for, and unfortunately not all residential homes offer the same standards. When homes close, sometimes because the buildings are no longer fit for purpose, there can be uncertainty for residents and their families. It is that postcode lottery of care that we need to mitigate as best we can through the consideration of our long-term care requirements, which is why one policy that we need to get absolutely right for the benefit of our elders is the one on building more homes.

We have a massive housing shortage in the UK, but it is the older generation who have the least choice as to where they live. If they decide to downsize from their family home, they find that there are few bungalows or smaller houses being built. There are not many purpose-built retirement complexes, whether flats or houses, and any new development with social housing rarely, in my view, considers the needs of the elderly.