Press release: Social Care 'Timebomb' Warning

Social Care 'Timebomb' Warning: Hourglass Pushes for Safer Ageing Election Agenda with landmark OATH Campaign


With an extra NINE MILLION older people, a population the size of London, set to populate the UK by 2050, Hourglass is calling on all Westminster hopefuls to underline their Safer Ageing plans – and take the OATH – a new campaign to increase awareness of the social care timebomb.  


Hourglass, the only UK-wide charity dedicated to ending the abuse and neglect of older people, has launched its own manifesto entitled ‘A Safer Ageing Society by 2050’ and is urging the political elite and general public alike to sign up to support it HERE:  


The campaign, OATH (Older Age Tomorrow’s Hope) is a pledge to support their 2050 target and to work alongside older people, the age sector and Hourglass itself in raising the profile of this often-unspoken issue. 


The charity points to the creation of a London-sized city, full of over sixties by 2050. That’s 9.6 million more older people in the UK. And, they say, for the first time they’ll be more over 60s than under 16s. The charity underlines that this is a social care timebomb waiting to explode. 


As the charity’s Policy Director and Deputy CEO, Veronica Gray, illustrates, Hourglass’s big ask isn’t quite as unreachable as it first appears: “Let’s think about it from the opposite perspective. If we knew there was to be nine million extra bouncing babies in the next twenty-five years, governments across the UK would be planning now.  There would be a strategy to accommodate and ensure their safe arrival into the world. 


“There would be new schools, nurseries, perhaps maternity hospitals and safeguarding teams. Early years planning, investment into midwives and ante-natal units would be on the horizon. Our parliamentary representatives would be falling over themselves to promise a safe future for the impending influx of babies. Not just kissing them for the cameras.


“This is unquestionably a population boom – just at the other end of the spectrum. This ageing population needs to be celebrated, safe, independent and free from abuse. This seems like a fairly obvious step and worthy of support and understanding. Hence the Hourglass target of creating a Safer Ageing Society by 2050.”


Therefore, Hourglass is also scrutinising what plans the political parties in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have outlined in their manifesto. And so far, in terms of protecting older people from abuse, harm, exploitation and neglect, the charity believes there has been precious little forward planning at all. 


Richard Robinson, CEO of Hourglass, explains:


“Hourglass believes, with the impending older population surge and 2.5 million people affected by the abuse of older people annually, we need as many active voices as possible to make the case. The political dial now needs to move to address this significant upsurge and the social care needs of this population shift. 


“We are working to analyse, with a variety of indicators, how seriously each political party is taking the notion of a Safer Ageing future. We will be announcing the results next Friday (21st June) and this, Election Safer Ageing Index, will also be used to scrutinise performance as the new parliamentary term takes shape.”


Hourglass, which has been working to support older-victims of abuse and neglect since 1994, has a unique 24/7 helpline, instant messenger and Knowledge Bank service. These services are already under threat due to delayed decision-making on future funding mechanisms. Richard Robinson continues: 


“Whoever comes to power after 4th July, has to urgently secure service provision and agree funding for charities like Hourglass. This will go some distance in paving the way for a Safer Ageing future – but this is the bare minimum. The Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) commitments, whilst inspirational and much-needed, need to be replicated for older victim-survivors. This is another key consideration for the next Downing Street resident.”


The charity was recently in the headlines for working to develop and script the story of Yolande Trueman, in BBCs EastEnders. This, along with many other factors has seen the charity’s calls hit over 700 a week and with a likely 50,000 contacts per year.





Nick Kelly, External Affairs and Parliamentary Manager -

Mobile no: 078 6404 6807


Notes to editors: 

Hourglass is a UK-wide charity with a presence in all four nations. It aims to protect and prevent the abuse of vulnerable older people by raising awareness of the issues, encouraging education and giving information and support to those in need. It has the only national freephone helpline dedicated to this cause, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 0808 808 8141 for confidential support and information. 


The charity is urging those keen to support the charity to donate by visiting or Text SAFER to 70460 to donate £10.


Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text SAFERNOINFO to 70460.