Scale of over 65s struggling at home in Leeds revealed

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Around 54,000 older people in Leeds have limited day-to-day activities owing to a long standing health condition or disability - but just 13 per cent receive any care, according to a shocking new report.

Across Yorkshire, nearly 200,000 older people in struggle with basic tasks such as cooking, dressing or bathing, a new report said.

The charity Independent Age and think tank the Strategic Society Centre, analysed data from a number of sources and found that across England, almost half a million older carers provide round the clock care to a loved one, but more than 80 per cent do not receive any council services. In total, 70,000 of the country’s most disabled pensioners do not get any form of paid or unpaid care at home.

It placed a spotlight on Leeds, as it urged local authorities to do more to prepare for upcoming changes in older people’s care.

In Leeds, just over 3,000 of the city’s 54,062 pensioners living with disability or long-term health problems receive paid care at home from their council, and 4,426 receive community-based services.

The research aims to help councils and care providers to get ready for the introduction of the Care Act next April, and places new duties on local authorities to offer more help to older people and their carers.

Simon Bottery, director of policy at Independent Age, said the report highlighted “alarming gaps” in existing levels of care.

James Lloyd, Director of the Strategic Society Centre said the research showed the “scale of the challenge” facing local authorities and national policymakers.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Older people in Leeds are increasingly telling us they that want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible and our focus for the future will be on enabling them to have the choice and control that they need to do just that.

“Our investment in the £2.1m Assisted Living Leeds hub that will help keep vulnerable residents safe in their homes, continued and increased support of our acclaimed enterprising third sector, neighbourhood networks and more assistance in helping those receiving care to work on personalised budgets are just some of the ways we achieving these aims already.

“Although the implementation of the Care Act will undoubtedly present us with challenges, we are confident that we have robust, people-focused systems in place that can ensure older people in Leeds continue to receive a high standard of care.”

The report also looked at Internet connection, which it said would become a key part of home local authorities establish and maintain support for adults and carers.

Yorkshire and the Humber had the lowest levels of Internet use among over 65s at home across the country - just 45 per cent, compared with nearly two thirds in the South East.

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