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Families 'must do more' for elderly
Families and neighbours must do more to look after the elderly to stop them enduring a "dismal existence", the Care Minister has urged.
Norman Lamb said everyone had a part to play in building a "less neglectful society" and warned against relying on the state to "do everything".
The Liberal Democrat said some older people ended up in residential care unnecessarily and called on local councils to rebuild a "neighbourly resilience" that could help pensioners remain independent.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "We all have a part to play. In this way, we can make the system sustainable, and it can be a more decent society, a less neglectful society than we sometimes experience where we just expect the state to do everything."
Mr Lamb told the newspaper a government deal to cap personal spending on care fees will be announced in the coming weeks.
It follows a review by economist Andrew Dilnot that recommended setting a limit between £25,000 and £50,000 to stop pensioners being forced to sell their homes to cover costs, though the Government has looked at a number of options, including a £75,000 and a £100,000 limit.
But a new cap is "not a panacea", the minister warned. He said older people were sometimes pushed into care by the system and were given little help to maintain their independence.
"With the right support and the right community resilience, and a rebuilding of the neighbour support that used to be there, more people could stay in their own homes for longer," he added.
"We have lost the extended family because families have become dispersed. We need to rebuild that neighbourly resilience that helps people stay independent. If someone is living on their own never seeing anyone, that is a dismal existence, and it often ends up with it all collapsing and them going into a care home.
"Give them support, some companionship, and help them maintain activity in mind and body and everyone benefits."