Society: Elderly in `downward spiral'

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The Independent Online
Action is needed to stop elderly people becoming trapped in a "downward spiral of dependency", a leading charity said yesterday. Help the Aged said older people were becoming increasingly dependent on expensive emergency services because of cuts in home care, nursing and adult education.

Tessa Harding, the charity's head of planning and development, said: "The less we spend on supporting independence, the more we are forced to spend on meeting the needs of the most dependent.

Its report said home care services for older people were cut by 4 per cent last year and 5 per cent the year before. Older people were leaving hospital without adequate support, quickly becoming ill again. Cuts in adult education had made it difficult for retired people to pursue individual interests.