Have you planned for long-term care?

Date Published: 26/10/2020 14:48

The question of how we pay for social care has not gone away. Jillian Thomas looks at how we as individuals and as a society might cover the costs. 

How do we pay for social care? It is a question that just won’t go away. But it is one we as individuals and as a society need to work out how to answer.

I’ve been crunching some numbers and they don’t look good. Currently around 70 per cent of older people receive some sort of care, and there are probably far more who need it but don’t get it for a variety of reasons.

One of those reasons is probably the cost. The hourly rate for at-home help averages out at about £20. Now some people may be able to manage with an hour or two a day or a few times a week; but once you start looking at live-in care or living in a home, the costs increase dramatically.

The cost of living in a home can be £900 or more a week. The average is around £645. And, in England, if you have more than £23,250 in total capital assets then you will have to make contributions to your care. Less than a third of people are fully funded by the local authority; most of us will have to pay towards our care and if you do the maths you can see it won’t be long before the costs eat away at any assets you may have.

And yet barely a third of over 55s have any plans to cover these costs. Is that you? If it is, long-term care planning (and please don’t wait until you are over 55!) is something to consider and we can help with that.

Meanwhile governments grapple with how we as a society can pay for our care system, which is currently creaking under the strain. There’s been talk of ‘death tax’ and ‘dementia tax’ and now ministers are considering changes to tax for the over-40s. Somehow we need to find the money.

In 2018-19 local authorities spent £22bn on social care, which is actually less than a decade before. And that is in an ageing society. In 2019 there were 1.6 million people aged over 85; by 2040 that is expected to double to 3.2 million. That means you and I could very well see 85 and beyond, and who knows what our health will be like. A sobering thought.

If you want to discuss long-term care planning, please contact us on 01246 435 996.

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