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Are we ignoring the need for social care?

The amount of time spent needing daily care at the end of life has doubled in England over the past two decades.[1] New statistics from Carers Trust also show that 3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives.[2] Clearly later life care is something we all need to plan ahead for.[3]

So, with the urgency to consider later-life care becoming more apparent, what are some of our care options?

Private care homes

With residential care considered a last resort, extra care housing has become a sort of intermediate solution between independence and the constant care that residential homes provide. These private care centres allow you to purchase a property on site offering the care necessary yet still giving the resident the freedom and independence that many want. However, private care homes have come under scrutiny for only catering for wealthy clients whilst giving no option for those struggling with budgets. This begs the question of what else is available for those who don’t require round the clock attention yet still wish to remain independent in later life.[4]

Care in your own home

London School of Economics (LSE) notes that a much greater proportion of highly dependent older people are now receiving care in their own homes rather than in residential care homes. This proves a key option for those of us who wish to maintain our independence yet still requiring some care and support with daily activities. LSEs research also showed that functional decline in health can be improved if patients have access to aids or adaptions for the home helping with getting in and out of chairs, beds and baths and from room to room.[5]

What are the costs of care?

1A study by Newcastle University revealed that 78% of people thought the average cost of residential care would be £30,000 or more a year, with 59% expecting it to fall between £30,000 and £50,000, which is in line with today’s average cost of care. Having an understanding of costs is the first step many will want to take when planning for retirement and potential later life care.[6]

How are care costs funded?

State care

We might assume that the National Health Service (NHS) can be depended on to provide full care for elderly relatives. However, if an individual’s capital and income is above £23,250 they will be expected to pay their own fees. Those with less than £14,250 worth of assets will have to pay nothing and those with somewhere in the middle of these figures will have to pay an amount towards the costs of care.[7] Steven Cameron, pension’s director at Aegon UK, says “the state will not pick up the full tab and failing to plan ahead could have serious implications for inheritance aspirations.”[8]

With most families having to fund care costs themselves, it is likely that the value of the person’s home will be included when assessing whether or not they have sufficient assets to pay towards their care. As you might expect, almost three quarters (73 percent) of those above age 65 said they would be reluctant to sacrifice their home according to Aegon UK’s research.[9]

Care Insurance

With state benefits only going so far, and reports of almost 1.2 million older people not receiving the care and support they need with essential daily activities, having financial assistance with later life care needs can be exceedingly reassuring.[10]

Care insurance such as National Friendly’s Assisted Living Insurance provides financial assistance towards professional in-home care services, assistive devices such as stair lifts and supportive furniture, and respite care for when your unpaid carer needs to take a short break.[11] National Friendly’s policy also includes access to Grace Care, a care advice provider helping to navigate the complexity of care options.

Your next steps

With a mass of information to consider, it can very daunting when considering how we should best plan ahead for later life care. However, the eye opening figures that states 3 in 5 people will be carers in their lifetime can give us the push we need to take action on something that will play such an important part in our future. With some of the options for later life care outlined above, it is important to seek further insight into what will be best for your future.

You can seek a range of financial advice on funding long term care through independent advisors such as 425 Financial Solutions.


[1] BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40942531

[2] Carers Trust
https://carers.org/key-facts-about-carers-and-people-they-care

[3] FT Adviser
https://www.ftadviser.com/pensions/2017/09/18/one-in-five-bury-heads-in-the-sand-about-social-care/

[4] The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2017/oct/12/extra-care-housing-older-people

[5] London School of Economics
http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/the-social-care-crisis-and-dependency/

[6] Health Insurance Daily
https://www.healthinsurancedaily.com/health-insurance/product-area/long-term-care/article483574.ece

[7] The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/long-term-care-savings-retirement-plan-late-life-elderly-home-how-prepare-a7739946.html

[8] FT Adviser
https://www.ftadviser.com/pensions/2017/09/18/one-in-five-bury-heads-in-the-sand-about-social-care/

[9] Money Observer
http://www.moneyobserver.com/news/02-10-2017/retirees-unwilling-to-sacrifice-their-home-to-cover-social-care-costs

[10] Age UK
http://www.ageuk.org.uk/latest-news/12m-older-people-dont-get-the-social-care-they-need/

[11] National Friendly
https://nationalfriendly.co.uk/products-services/later-life-care/assisted-living-insurance/

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