Unmet need and older people: Towards a synthesis of user and provider views

Lis Cordingley, Jane Hughes and David Challis

This study of unmet need among older people provides a thematic review of the vast literature relating to this concept.

It aims to establish common ground between user and provider views on this diverse and complex subject. The authors cover two broad topics – areas of unmet need identified by older people and the response of the formal sectors to the issue of unmet need. The first section reviews commonly overlooked needs identified by older people and reasons why older people may resist support or help. In the second section, the authors describe studies which illuminate the processes by which social services departments identify and respond to the needs of older people.

The final section suggests a number of alternative strategies for identifying unmet needs. This study provides a useful summary of the issues associated with the nature of unmet need, agency processes associated with identifying need and ways in which user and provider perspectives could be brought closer together.

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