Age UK are right to call this out. There is a growing gap between the adult care councils can afford to provide and what people need. The NAO say only 27% of councils monitor unmet need. If we don't monitor it - how can the gap be bridged - if not by money by voluntary help?
Of course we think more funding is needed. But in good times as well as bad, we need Councils to have the confidence and skills to monitor these gaps - the local government role is about the wellbeing of all local people in a place, not just those that legally qualify for help. Of course we should take a lesson on funding from this report - but we should also say it is time for Councils to do more on market oversight and monitoring of need. The big story is rightly the 1.2m people, but we should also be concerned that in three-quarters of places, we have no clear way of knowing who these people are, and how they might be helped.
Day to day tasks that many of us take for granted – like getting dressed, using the toilet, making a meal, or getting to the shops – can be almost impossible for many older people without help. Older people should be able to live well, not just survive, and the right care and support can help them do this. But right now 1.2 million older people are left to struggle each day without that support. We need to ensure that they can access the care that will help them stay safe and prevent even more strain on a system that is on the edge of collapse.