Measuring unmet need for social care amongst older people
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Recent spending cuts in the area of adult social care raise policy concerns about the proportion of older people whose need for social care is not being met. Such concerns are emphasised in the context of population ageing and other demographic changes. For example, the increasing proportion of the population aged 75 and over places greater pressure on formal and informal systems of care and support provision, while changes in the living arrangements of older people may affect the supply of informal care within the household. This article explores the concept of ‘unmet need’ for support in relation to specific Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), using data on the receipt of support (informal, formal state or formal paid) from the General Household Survey, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the British Household Panel Survey. The results show that different kinds of need tend to be supported by particular sources of care, and that there is a significant level of ‘unmet need’ for certain activities.