Mind the funding gap

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This month we celebrate the International Day of Older Persons which is a global UN initiative designed to challenge the negative stereotypes of aging and the causes of age discrimination.

Closer to home, just a couple of week’s ago the King’s Fund published a comprehensive study into social care for older people which spelled out the impending crisis in funding that is being created. In it, it states that over the past five years, local authority spending on care for older and disabled people has fallen by 11% in real terms and the number of people who receive state-funded help has fallen by around 25%. This is in the context of a population that continues to age and so, require more resources, not less.

Public spending on adult social care is set to fall to less than 1% of GDP yet many people are still under the misconception that the State will meet the majority of costs for later life care. The truth is, the extent of care provision varies hugely between local authorities and such care that is provided is likely to be of a very basic standard. The burden and responsibility of financing long term care will sit with the individual and their families.

It is imperative that people plan proactively for life after retirement to ensure quality and consistency of care as they age. To maintain the standard of living they hope for and deserve they need to be planning in their 50s rather than when they are knocking on the door of the care home. The King’s Fund supports “…a robust and honest strategy including incentives for people to plan ahead for their own care needs” and this is an eminently sensible approach.

The fact is, the key incentive for people to plan ahead is cost-efficiency through taking advantage of favourable premiums and the like which are more achievable when you are younger and your needs are less immediate or complex. At My Care Consultant we help clients and their families navigate the complexities for the social care system and explore their funding options in the private sector. We work with those who require immediate care to ensure they identify the right care, have adequate funding and protect their home or other assets where possible.

In a month when the world should be empowering it’s older citizens we should all be working towards a future where people can have the care they need, the security of knowing they are covered financially and the ability to live later life to the full.