“Almost 1,000 elderly people a day are being admitted to hospital needlessly amid a crisis in social care, Age UK has found.
Analysis of NHS figures by the charity found that there were 341,074 avoidable emergency admissions for people aged 65 and over during the year to April 2017.
The number has risen by 107 per cent since 2003 for those aged 65 to 69, and by 119 per cent for older people aged 75-79.
Among the general population of England, the number has risen by 63 per cent.
The figures relate to admissions because of conditions such as ear, nose or throat infections, kidney and urinary tract infections, and angina, for which hospitalisation could potentially have been avoided had the person been better looked after.
Many older people rely on family and friends to help them in the absence of reliable social care, the charity warned.
One in three over-65s live alone, and one in ten have no children, and these figures are expected to rise as younger generations, who are less likely to have married or had children, reach retirement age.
Many of those who do have loved ones to care for them rely on elderly relatives who may have health problems of their own.
One case study highlighted by the charity involved a 67-year-old woman who has been a carer for 40 years, first for her parents and more recently for a younger sister who has Alzheimer’s disease.
In another case a 73-year-old woman has been the sole carer for her 75-year-old husband since he had a stroke and brain haemorrhage four years earlier. She cancelled previous at-home care because it was “unreliable and lacking in continuity”.
Its report also highlights the problem of older people stuck in hospital and unable to go home, putting more strain on the healthcare system.
Care not being in place was the main reason there were delays for older people leaving hospital in England last year, according to figures released by the NHS. …”