Ignorance is widespread on cost of care
Caring Times, November 2013The British public are oblivious to the realities of the adult social care system and their own likelihood of developing care needs, according to a report released today from the Strategic Society Centre and older people’s not-for-profit care provider Anchor <http://www.anchor.org.uk/Pages/home.aspx> .
Entitled ‘Right Care, Right Price’ <http://www.strategicsociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/MEDIA-COPY-Right-Care-Right-Price-copy.pdf> the report explores the way in which the price of care is determined. It revealed that nearly half (48 per cent) of adults have not given any thought at all as to how they will pay for their own care. This concerning findingcould explain why half of people (50 per cent) have no idea how much a week in a care home costs. On average, those who could give an estimate put the cost at £397 per week – around £140 a week (or more than £7,000 a year) less than the average care home fees across the UK.*
Knowledge of local authority support is also low. Over 60 per cent (61 per cent) of people were clueless as to how much help they could get towards paying for their care home costs from their local authority.
With a Cabinet reshuffle looming, Anchor has intensified its call for Government to appoint a Cabinet level Minister for Older People to help future-proof our ageing society. Over three quarters (77 per cent) of people say the Government is simply not ready for the impact of an ageing population and a similar proportion (76 per cent) say there should be one individual in the Cabinet responsible for ensuring Government is preparing for our ageing society.
A further 84 per cent of people think that more needs to be done to educate people about planning for and paying for care.
Liberal Democrat former Care Minister Paul Burstow MP last week backed Anchor’s campaign in his report ‘Giving older people a voice’.
Anchor’s Chief Executive Jane Ashcroft commented: “We risk an oblivious ageing population sleepwalking into an uncertain future. In response to this report, we have reignited our call for Government to stop dragging its heels and do more to prepare for demographic change – only by making one person accountable for our evolving needs can we protect older people living in the UK today as well as future generations.”
Worryingly, reforms that the Government has put in motion only seem to add to public confusion. Over half (53 per cent) of people in the UK are not aware that the Government will be introducing a cap on care costs in 2016 and two fifths (41 per cent) have no idea what will be included in the cap.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of people believe that the proposed care cap will include the cost of a room in a care home and over a third (35 per cent) of people think that the cost of their food and drink in a care home will be included – neither is the case.
The Grey Pride <http://www.greypride.org.uk/page/older-peoples-minister> campaign has already received the support of 137,000 people and organisations who signed a petition asking for Government to appoint a Minister, and since then a Commons debate resulted in Members of Parliament voting in favour of the motion.
Darren Millar AM, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Older People in Wales, also supports the call: “With people living longer and some people choosing to work beyond 65, the needs of the over 65s are increasingly diverse. I believe that governments and political parties in other parts of the UK could benefit from a spokesman for older people around their cabinet and shadow cabinet tables, this is why I am supporting Anchor and its Grey Pride campaign.”
Labour appointed Liz Kendal MP as Shadow Minister for Care and Older People in October 2011.