Research from Macmillan into cancer survival rates and life in remission revealed that more than 170,000 people diagnosed with cancer up to 40 years ago are still alive. You are now twice as likely to survive for at least a decade after diagnosis than in the 1970s. Further progress in diagnosis and treatments now means that survival rates have improved exponentially and this looks like a trend that is going to continue.
This is great news, both for cancer sufferers and their families as they can look forward to being able to spend more time together. However, there is a downside as the report estimates that around a quarter of survivors will have long term financial issues such as being faced with more expensive insurance premiums or even exclusion from certain types of policy.
And it’s not just cancer sufferers who face added financial hardship. Advances in medical technology and treatments mean that many diseases and illnesses which were once incurable can be treated effectively. This increasing longevity means we can look forward to a longer retirement, with the downside of a larger pot of money being required to fund it.
However, with longer lifespans comes the almost certainty of needing long term care as you age. And those recovering from serious illnesses are more likely to have complex needs, which come at a price. Residential care home fees in the UK for the first time have exceeded an average of £30,000 a year – with nursing homes being more expensive still. It is great news that people are living longer but to maintain quality as well as longevity requires careful planning, and costs don’t decline in proportion.
The age structure of the UK population is changing and the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase to more than almost 13 million in 2018 and almost 17 million by 2035 putting further pressure on finances. As Baroness Altman said on Twitter last week “If you’ve no savings and need care, your council won’t necessarily pay for the care home you want. And you’ll only get minimal home care”.
My Care Consultant can offer independent information and guidance to members of the public in respect of meeting and funding their long term care needs. Where an individual is responsible for funding some or all of their care fees, My Care Consultant can go on to introduce them to a panel of known, qualified and vetted regulated financial advisers to enable them to access advice in respect of the best way to pay for care in the context of their overall financial circumstances and wishes.
The good news is that recovery rates from cancer and other serious illnesses are increasing. It’s clear though that while we may be well on the road to beating cancer, we can’t beat the clock and whether you’re in robust health or not, it is advisable to plan ahead for life as you age.