LONDON, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- A politician says Britain has become a "neglectful society" and when family and friends don't care for the elderly they are driven to nursing homes.
Norman Lamb, the minister of state for care and support in Britain, told the Daily Telegraph: "We have lost the extended family because families have become dispersed. We need to rebuild that neighborly 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.
"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," Lamb said.
The cost of some care homes, or nursing homes, are almost $50,000 a year, while the average retirement income in Britain is about $22,000.
Lamb suggested other places in Britain copy what the city of Leeds did to encourage the elderly to "self-manage" health conditions and adapt their homes to help them live independently. He said the government should encourage people to help their neighbors stay out of nursing homes.
"I want local authorities to be giving people guidance about how they can maintain their own resilience, using their friends, their neighbors, their community and in that way build resilience and reduce the burden on the state," Lamb told the Telegraph.