Charities across Lincolnshire offering a lifeline to the elderly could be at breaking point this winter because of the demand for their services.
That is the warning from Andy Storer, the chief executive of Age Uk Lindsey.
Based in Horncastle, the charity covers a huge area which is home to almost 100,000 people aged over 65.
Mr Storer said he welcomed the pledge of extra Government funding announced for social care and the NHS in last week’s budget.
However, he fears it will not enough to ‘plug current gaps’ after what he described as ‘years of underfunding.”
Mr Storer believes for many older people, the funding will be ‘too little, too late’ in what promises to be a ‘difficult winter.’
Commenting on the national scene, Mr Storer said: “The £650m investment in social care won’t be enough to reverse years of underfunding.
“Therefore, 1.4m older people with some level of unmet need for care will have to continue to ‘make do’ with many older and disabled people unlikely to see any improvement in their current circumstances during 2019.”
Mr Storer said estimates suggested the number of over 65s in Lincolnshire would increase by 30% during the next 20 years.
He urged the Government to produce what he called a ‘proper plan’ to meet that increase.
He added: “Nothing could better demonstrate the urgent need for a brave and ambitious Social Care Green Paper to be delivered, which is fit for meeting the current challenges in care.”
He supported the extra NHS funding announced last week but called for a commitment to insure policies were in place to ‘improve outcomes for older people’.
He said: “Although I welcome the commitment to put extra money into mental health care, there must be specific measures to support older people’s mental health.
“Historically, older people have missed out on targeted access to support, most recently in the five year forward view, which included very little on addressing long-standing inequalities in both access to and outcomes from care.
“Overall, it feels like a very mixed budget.
“We will see if it makes a difference as we move into what will be a very difficult winter for many older people in our area.
“My worry is that for many older people it will be too little, too late.
“The demand on charities such as Age UK Lindsey will be greater than the capacity we have to deliver.”