Services could be hit as budget for elderly rises

Elderly residents at a nursing home
Elderly residents at a nursing home

A volunteer who advises the elderly said the county’s ageing population should not be regarded as a financial timebomb.

John Forshaw, treasurer at Age Concern Corby, spoke out after it was revealed county council spending on elderly services has increased by more than £10m since 2006, with demand expected to double by 2025.

Robin Brown, county council cabinet member for adult social care, said: “Somebody described it as a bomb waiting to go off, but there is not going to be an explosion. It’s going to slowly creep up on us.”

Mr Forshaw said: “Referring to a section of the population as a timebomb gives rise to prejudice.

“There are enough of us to look after our elderly citizens and volunteers can play a big part too.”

Mr Forshaw advises elderly people who need help with personal care, transport and making applications for additional benefits such as attendance allowance.

He said: “It’s usually the families who come to us first. It’s always better if people can continue living at home but the care they need has to be paid for. The budget has to be met.”

The number of pensioners in the county is expected to increase from 106,500 in 2010 to 168,000, with those over 85 doubling from 14,200 to 25,200.

The county council spends £800 per person on 18 to 74-year-olds and £4,721 on those over 85.

Cllr Brown said: “If we project the growth over the next 20 years the county council would be spending most of its budget on social care, with no money to spend on services such as libraries and roads.”