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Friday, 26 October 2018

Overwhelming majority have made no plans how they will pay for adult social care

Written by Jennifer Cockerell

The overwhelming majority of people have not made any plans for how they will pay for adult social care in old age, a survey has revealed.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said just 15% of adults questioned said they are planning ahead for paying for care they might need in the future, while half (50%) admitted they have never thought about how they will come up with the cash for care when they get older.

It is calling on the Government to lead a national campaign to raise the profile of adult social care after the findings of the poll raised concerns about the public's understanding and preparedness for the costs associated with it.

Unlike the NHS, which is free at the point of need, social care is means tested.

Across the UK, 44% of people in care homes pay the full cost of their care themselves, and more than a quarter (26%) pay the full cost of their home care.

But nearly half (48%) of those polled said they have little to no understanding of what the term "social care" means, while 5% had never heard of the term at all.

Meanwhile 44% think social care is provided by the NHS and more than a quarter (28%) believe it is free at the point of access.

The LGA estimates that adult social care services face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025 just to maintain existing standards of care, while the latest figures show that councils in England receive 1.8 million new requests for adult social care a year - the equivalent of more than 5,000 a day.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "This polling raises real concerns over how prepared people are for their own care needs, or the care of their loved ones.

"Over recent years, councils have protected adult social care relative to other services. But the scale of the overall funding picture for local government as a whole means adult social care services still face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care.

"The likely consequences of this are more and more people being unable to get quality and reliable care and support, which enables them to live more fulfilling lives.

"If we are to truly tackle adult social care, we must aspire to social care having a similar 'national treasure' status as the NHS, with similar levels of awareness and understanding about what social care is and why it matters.

"With low public awareness of social care and people's preparedness for how to pay for it, it is more important than ever that the Government get on and publish their green paper, start a massive campaign to raise awareness of what social care is and don't duck the big issues on funding."

The poll was conducted by BritainThinks and questioned 1,741 adults in England.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Philip Toscano / PA Wire.