Charities @ Work

Over a million older people struggling to cope alone with zero care

The number of older people who have difficulty with basic tasks such as getting out of bed, washing and dressing but who get no help has now soared to over one million (1,004,000).

Each and every day over one million older people who need care are left to the stark reality of battling on alone – over 100,000 more than last year.  These figures reveal the extent to which older people are being left stranded, with nearly a third (31.1 per cent) of all those who have difficulty in carrying out one or more essential activities of daily life not receiving any formal or informal help.


  • Over half of those who struggle to wash/get in the bath do not receive any help.
  • More than one in three of those who find it difficult to go to the toilet do not receive any help.
  • One in three of those who find it hard to get out of bed on their own do not receive any help.

At a time when the size of the older population is growing at an increasing rate, our system for keeping them fit and well at home has become much weaker.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:
These new figures mean that for the first time in this country, more than a million older people with a social care need are being left to cope on their own. Not only are they without help from the social care system, they are also not getting it from family, friends or neighbours either. To have to struggle alone is unfair on these older people and also unacceptable in a civilised society.'

Age UK thrive to see a world where everyone in later life can access high quality healthcare, so that people are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We are determined to make sure that older people don’t suffer for lack of care. Thanks to your generous donations, Age UK is able to provide services and support at both a national and local level – helping to inspire, enable and support older people across the UK.