One in eight care homes have been forced to close in the last decade, while rising numbers of families are being forced to pay for care, a new report warns.
The study shows that the number of homes in the UK has fallen by 1,612 in 10 years, despite a rapidly ageing population.
The report by analysts LaingBuisson also shows 45% of care-home places are now funded by families, not the state, up from 40% in a decade.
The number of local authority beds has halved over the same period, from 34,700 to 17,100 – with the total number of care homes dropping from 12,592 to 10,980.
Sources previously told 24housing that senior policy makers including those in No.10 are looking at a variety of housing-led initiatives that will get them around the funding hole in which they currently find themselves.
Boris Johnson has also promised to “fix” the problem of social care, with a “cast-iron guarantee” he will have a long-term plan for social care in place within five years.
However, research reveals families are spending twice as much on fees for relatives in care homes than they were a decade ago.
In 1999, a Royal Commission on long-term care of the elderly said that personal care should be free for all those in need, leaving pensioners to only pay “hotel” costs of their accommodation.
Since then, more than 350,000 pensioners have been forced to sell their homes to fund their care, the research suggests.
Social-care provision in England is means tested, and those with more than £23,500 in savings or assets must contribute.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “There are more older people than ever before but fewer care and nursing-home beds compared to a decade ago, and that spells big trouble for anyone who needs this kind of help today, as many do.
“It’s high time the government got a grip on the situation, so whoever our next PM is must make this a day one priority, or else hundreds of thousands of older people and their families are going to be very badly let down.”