Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Community care for the elderly 1976-84.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: (Published 07 March 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:626
  1. E Grundy


    The aging of the elderly population is of crucial importance as people who are over 80 make far greater use of health and social services than any other age group. Government guidelines on the provision of services, which are generally related to the whole population aged 65 and over, fail to take account of this change in the age structure of the elderly population and are no longer appropriate. Recent trends in the provision of domiciliary services, day care, specialist housing for the elderly, and residential care have been related to changes in the number of potential consumers. Ironically, despite the government's stated commitment to "community care," the chief growth area has been private institutional care. The number of day care places and sheltered housing units has also increased in real terms, but the provision of domiciliary services, such as home help and health visitor visits to the elderly, has either fallen behind or barely matched the increase in the number of very old people. If community care is to be made a reality and if the present inadequate levels of service are to be maintained, let alone improved, then additional resources, greater cooperation among agencies, and a more imaginative approach to the development and delivery of services are urgently needed.