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Predicting unmet social care needs & links with well-being

Findings from the secondary analysis

Holding hands
Researchers: Allison Dunatchik
Published: December 2016

This study shows high levels of unmet social care need among men and women aged over 60 from a range of social backgrounds.


The focus of this research is on understanding the nature and prevalence of unmet social care needs, its causes and what links there are, if any, with well-being.

You can download the full report or read a summary of our findings below. A technical report is also available.

This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.


  • This widespread level of need indicates the impacts of pressures on the social care system, and affect those eligible for local authority financial support as well as self-funders
  • Those in their 50s and 60s, living alone or experiencing widowhood are most likely to have future care needs that are not met
  • There are no clear links between unmet need and wellbeing, perhaps because receiving care has both positive and negative impacts on wellbeing.


The project involved two stages: secondary analysis of HSE and ELSA data, and in-depth narrative interviews with older people. This report presents the findings from the secondary analysis.

Download the report

Download the technical report