One thing we have noticed over the last couple of years is the increase in frailty of our service users. While initially attributing this solely to the effects of Covid, a recent longitudinal study on aging has highlighted the period of austerity that began in 2010 as the primary cause for the increased frailty among older individuals today.[i]

Frailty refers to the decline in our ability to recover from a period of illness, meaning that minor issues are more likely to have a serious effect on our health and wellbeing. Frailty affects one in ten people aged 65 and over, and 50% of 85-year-olds and over. The British Geriatrics Society says frailty costs our health system nearly £6 billion a year.

The report identifies the demise of numerous preventative initiatives, some of which Staywell used to provide, that were either scaled right back or eliminated altogether due to austerity.

As an organisation that was established to help and support people to live independently in their community, we now find ourselves supporting a larger number of individuals who are frailer and more vulnerable, with greater needs than ever before.

Radical change is needed, the government’s sticking-plaster approach to funding is simply inadequate.

With escalating financial constraints, and constraints on what individuals can afford to pay, it is evident that without change more people will be living in increased need during their later years. This, in turn, will result in a much higher cost to the NHS and social care services.


You might also be interested in:

‘A hidden crisis’, the lead article in Staywell News Autumn 2023.



[i] Frailty before and during austerity: A time series analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing 2002–2018Carys Pugh ,Chima Eke,Sohan Seth,Bruce Guthrie,Alan MarshallPublished: February 7, 2024