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Pensioners working together to plug social care gaps

Pensioners working together to plug social care gaps
30th January 2014

Cuts in social care provisions are being plugged by older people working together, the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) has said.

Figures released this month by the service state that 5.2 million people over the age 60 are currently engaging in some form of unpaid work, including helping fellow pensioners in care and in their own homes.

The number of over-80s living in the UK is likely to almost treble over the course of the next 16 years and RVS feels that the goodwill of retirees will become more important than ever.

Steve Smith, a spokesman for the charity, told the Daily Telegraph that many councils have been forced to reduce their budgets for care and the situation does not seem likely to change any time soon.

"When you add to that the fact that the number of over-80s is going to rise from three million today to eight million by 2030, there is going to be an increasing role for the voluntary sector to step in and plug the gaps," he said.

"Older people are going to be an increasing part of that, by providing meals on wheels, day centres or other services that would have been provided by the welfare state in the past."

With people living for longer, the elderly are sometimes looked at as a burden on society, according to a recent report, people over the age of 65 contribute more than £40 billion to the UK's economy each year in taxes and spending.

They also provide more than £10 billion worth of unpaid work.

On top of benefitting the people receiving support, volunteering has been found to greatly help the health of those giving up their time.

It has also been found to reduce hospital admissions.

Last year, RVS carried out a project in which it made sure people being discharged from hospital received support when they returned home and rates of re-admissions feel by half in just six weeks.

Find the nearest Barchester nursing home.