A caring approach to care
Posted on Jul 02, 2018
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The UK care system is notoriously complicated and there’s much confusion around what financial assistance is and isn’t available from either the Local Authority (LA) or the State. Evidence shows though that any help from your LA is likely to decrease over the coming years – mostly due to the increase in pressure on the system as people live longer and there are less government and LA funds to go round.
A recent report from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) claims that vulnerable, old and disabled people will see cuts to vital care services and higher charges over the coming years. The annual budget survey by the ADASS shows councils expect to spend £21.4 billion this year in England. While this is a rise from £20.8 billion last year, the cost of inflation combined with growing demand means this will not be enough, ADASS said.
The warning comes as ministers prepare to unveil plans to reform the system, with a Green Paper on social care expected to be published in the coming months.
The ADASS surveyed all 152 councils in England for its report. Three-quarters said they would be cutting the amount of care they provided, while nearly half said they would be introducing higher charges; people are expected to contribute to the cost of care where they can. Currently only a fifth of those needing care get help from councils and it is likely that more people will be pushed into the private market, with only those with the highest needs getting help.
ADASS president Glen Garrod said the findings were of ‘serious concern’ and described the care market as ‘fragile’.
According to figures collated recently by Just and the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), more people (currently 44 per cent) are having to pay their own care fees – the average cost of which is £700 per week. They also agree that there is less local authority funding and note that there was a 37 per cent drop in funding between 2010/11 and 2015/16.
The fact that we are living longer is a huge factor in all of this. Currently, the typical age that somebody will enter a care home is 85 years old – and 85+ is the fastest growing group of the population.
There is a likelihood that you – or somebody close to you – may need care in the future. So, it would make sense to put some plans in place. The earlier you start to think about this and, ideally, begin to seek specialist financial advice, the better. At the moment, only 63 per cent of people seek professional advice on covering care costs – which is a worryingly low figure, particularly when one considers that 24 per cent (or one in four) self-funders run out of money and need state support.
As members of SOLLA since July 2010, we are well-placed to provide advice on funding for long-term care. SOLLA is a not for profit organisation and aims to assist consumers and their families in finding trusted accredited financial advisers who understand financial needs in later life.
One of our clients, retired teacher Tessa Frank, admits she’s ‘pretty well incompetent at mathematics’ as it wasn’t her subject, so she asked her solicitor who to approach for some advice.
She explains: “They told me about SOLLA and I called Neil Whitaker. He had a lovely friendly voice and gave me some free advice on the phone then and there. Then, when he came to visit me, I knew I’d made an excellence choice of financial guide. I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about running out of money. The Goodman Partnership really cares about what happens to you.”
At The Goodman Partnership, we’ll make you aware of the various options, explaining clearly how they work and help you to reach an informed decision that you feel happy with.