“Social care is the biggest problem in local public services for older people. The country has not prepared people for supporting themselves in later life in any capacity but even less for any care needs.
“The welfare system was designed over sixty years ago, when the two big problems for older people were considered to be health and pensions. In those days, people died younger and, if they were ill, they did not live for years in chronic ill-health. As life expectancy has risen and the baby boom generation has grown older, we should have been preparing for the new future which is rapidly approaching. Sadly, we did not and the care crisis is now set to be bigger than the pensions crisis ever was.
“Planning by parliamentary term was too short sighted and not one government has managed to fully grasp the nettle. There is almost no money set aside for social care of the increasing numbers of frail older people and some local authorities will feel this pain more than others.
“It is important that we start to fund care needs and encourage private individuals to realise the need to have some money set aside by each family, in case one of them needs costly care. If there is money put aside, then should care needs arise, this will be less of an emergency expenditure need and more of a planned purchase. Incentives for care saving plans, with families being encouraged to join together to fund care in a tax free savings environment such as an ISA, would be a good start and help to move us from a welfare state to an integrated one.
“We all continue to watch new Care Minister Norman lamb with bated breath. Many of his initial commitments to addressing the care crisis addressed the concerns of those in the care industry, but to date we have seen little in the way of real action. Ideas continue to be pushed into the long grass or have become part of one of the many commitments, but with no funding to ensure they can be realised.
“Local Authorities want to do the best for their rapidly aging populations but are being forced to do so with their hands tied. Until we have a properly funded social care system the postcode lottery of inconsistent care will continue.”