The discussion around social care has been growing in recent months as opposing parties have put forward their proposals on how to tackle the crisis. With the UK now in an even more unstable position politically, the future of social care has become more uncertain. The anticipation for the government’s green paper is now higher than ever as we wait for more clarity on Theresa May’s proposed cap on the cost of social care to individuals.
In the midst of all the debating, it seems few people have asked our older generation how they feel about their prospects for social care.
So what are the hopes and expectations of those approaching or already receiving care?
Stannah’s latest Silver Census, which polls those aged 65+ in the UK, revealed that the majority of them would prefer to stay in their own home with care from a partner, relative or social carer. While this is unlikely to surprise people, it highlighted a significant gap between reality and expectations, as relatively few people are receiving care in this way.
It is also concerning that only five per cent would prefer to be cared for in a relative’s home with their family providing care in the later years of their life: for many people this may be their only option.
In fact the data showed that over half of those aged 65+ are worried about where they will live in later life and of these, one in four (27%) said this is because they are worried the state won’t provide for their care needs.
In regards to who should foot the bill, two thirds expect want to pay for their own care. While this should reduce the pressure on the state, hopefully a reasonable cap on the total costs to individuals will be put in place to allow them to pass on a legacy to loved ones.
On the flipside, over one third (36%) of pensioners do not expect to pay for their care, which could put their choices at risk if the government is unable or unwilling to pay when the time comes.
Regardless of whichever policies come into place, the reality is we can no longer rely on the state to always be there to provide for us in the way we would prefer to be cared for.
We believe that enabling people to stay in their homes for as long as possible is best for everyone, minimising the stress for those receiving care while lessening the burden on the state. The fact that almost a quarter (24%) of people have made changes to their homes, to enable them to live in them for longer, reflects the determination of people to remain independent for as long as possible.
Whichever way the government takes action on social care, we would encourage our older generation to take matters into their own hands as much as possible and create their own plans for the future.