Headlines: September 20th, 2006

BABY BOOMERS HAVE FAILED TO PLAN FOR CARE IN OLD AGE

 

Two thirds of people in the ‘baby boom’ generation, who are now approaching retirement age, have made no plans for their future care needs, according to the results of a survey published today. One in five of those taking part felt life was too short to worry about something which might happen.

The survey was carried out on behalf of Help the Aged which is now calling for reforms, including an end of what it sees as an undignified means test system and an increase in the personal expenses that local authorities allow people in care to have when calculating contributions to the cost of a care home place.

The study, carried out by GfK NOP highlights widespread confusion among those approaching retirement age. Almost half believe the Government will contribute to their care needs. One in ten of 61-65 year olds believes the state will pay all their future care costs. More than half believe that if they need a place in a care home their basic state pension – currently 84 pounds a week – will be one of the ways of covering the 400 pounds a week average cost.

Other findings include just under half of people saying they will sell their houses to pay for a place in a care home, the same proportion lacking confidence that their needs will be met and 65 per cent being happy to pay more income tax if it would mean more money being available for older people’s care needs.

Help the Aged is calling today for an end to what it calls the ‘complex and undignified means-testing system, which forces many older people to sell their homes to meet care costs’. It also wants an increase in the upper savings limit above which people are expected to meet their full care home fees and a doubling of the level of the personal expense allowance, to 40 pounds per week. It is also calling for the NHS to introduce a single national assessment process to decide who should receive fully funded NHS care.