Most people would be happy to contribute to the costs of long-term care for the elderly, but want a fairer system, a report by Caring Choices suggests.
A consultation of 700 people showed high levels of dissatisfaction with means testing and the “postcode lottery” over social care entitlements.
The King’s Fund think tank, which led the work, said many people felt the current system was not satisfactory. The number of people needing long-term care is set to rise by 50% by 2026 making this a serious issue over the coming years.
Nine in ten respondents to the “Caring Choices” consultation thought everyone should be entitled to some funding from the government and most people thought the current system of means testing unfairly penalised people who had made provision for their old age. One option favoured by respondents was for people to receive a baseline entitlement, regardless of their income and wealth, with the individual also paying a contribution.
The “Caring Choices” consultation, carried out by a coalition of 15 organisations, also found widespread calls for better support for unpaid carers. Julia Unwin, director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which was also involved in the work, said the findings showed people wanted greater clarity about their entitlements.
“At present many older people and carers feel unsupported by a system that too often seems to be working against them, rather than giving them essential support at a time of their life when they are at their most vulnerable.”
More details can be found on the Caring Choices website.