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Which unmet social care needs have the biggest impact on healthy ageing?

Older people are considered to have an unmet need when they could benefit from, but do not get, help for aspects of their daily lives. When people do not get the help they need to live well and with independence, they are more likely to experience poor health.

There are many different types of care needs such as needing help with bathing, dressing, shopping, managing money and doing housework. Expanding our understanding of the role of unmet care needs in healthy ageing should consider which, if any, unmet needs have the biggest impact on healthy ageing.

This is important as it may not be feasible for resource-stretched services to address all unmet needs of older populations.


This research aims to explore the relationship between individual unmet needs and healthy ageing.

Research question

  •  What is the relationship between individual unmet social care needs and self-rated health?


To address the research aims we will undertake an analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), which contains the data necessary to quantify unmet needs. 

Policy relevance

This project addresses the following core policy areas related to healthy ageing:

  • extending healthy life expectancy;
  • preventing and delaying the onset of disability.

Delivery dates

September – November 2023



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