Wednesday 26th December 2012 | 09:08
LGA: People driven to 'drastic measures' to pay for elderly care
Local Government Association press release
More than half of people in England would consider taking drastic measures such as raiding their children’s future inheritance or selling their homes to pay for care in old age, according to research published today.
Uncertainty around who will pay to care for the country’s rapidly ageing population has led to more then three in five people (62%) across the country saying they would be willing to make some form of significant financial sacrifice to ensure they are properly looked after in later life.
The research, carried out by ComRes on behalf of the Local Government Association, shows more than one in four people (27%) would consider selling their homes to pay for old-age-care, while just under one in four people (23%) would consider spending the money put aside to be inherited by their family.
More than one in four people (27%) say they would use savings from throughout their life to cover the cost of elderly care, while almost one in five (19%) would consider moving in with their children so they could act as their carer.
Other steps include one in ten people (11%) saying they would rent out a room in their family home and one in fourteen (7%) who would consider taking out a loan against their assets.
The findings also reveal the true extent to which people are worried about the negative consequences of ageing, with two in three people (66%) saying they are worried about having to pay for care as they get older, almost three in five (57%) saying they are worried about becoming more isolated in later life and more than half (56%) saying they are worried about becoming a burden on their families.
Council leaders are now warning that continued failure to provide certainty over how care will be funded in the future and how much it will cost individuals is leaving older people and their families in financial limbo, unable to plan for the future and faced with having to make unacceptable financial sacrifices that could have been avoided.
Cllr David Rogers, Chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“We are deeply concerned that failure to properly fund adult social care is leaving people in limbo and faced with having to take drastic measures to ensure they are properly looked after in old age. This is threatening the dignity and independence of the hundreds of thousands of elderly people who rely on council support and just want to live comfortably and without a lifetime of worry.
“We need to see reform of the system so that it provides peace of mind for older people and their families and allows them to properly prepare for the very real cost of care. It’s a scandal that people currently face the prospect of dipping into hard earned savings or losing their homes because of soaring care bills.
“The reality is that the current care system is in danger of collapsing. Unless we see urgent action the growing funding crisis threatens our ability to provide basic daily services that older people rely on such as help with washing, getting out of bed, and meals on wheels. This cannot be allowed to happen.
“These figures show that the message is getting through and the public shares our concern over the importance of tackling this issue. It’s now time for government to make the financing of social care a priority, to show that politicians really do care, and create a social care system we can be proud of for generations to come.”
The majority of people in England say care and support for the elderly should be a top priority for central government, with three in five people (59%) selecting it as one of the three top priorities for local government policy.
It comes as almost nine in ten people (87%) say they think it’s likely that most people will require care at some stage in their old age, while more than seven in ten (74%) believe they will personally require care.
However, figures show people are still in the dark around paying for care with two in eight people (14%) believing care is free for everyone and only one in ten (12%) identifying the average annual cost of residential care as about £27,