Counting on care: independent over-50s don't want to burden families but are in denial about funding long-term care

Monday 27 July 2009

Counting on care: independent over-50s don't want to burden families but are in denial about funding long-term care

  • Younger generation expect to rely on their children to provide care
  • Over 50s feel Government should foot the bill

Despite popular belief, rather than becoming a burden on their families, nearly two thirds (62%) of over 50s would happily opt to move into a care home if they required round the clock care in later life.

A report by Saga’s Care Funding Advice Service found that only 2% of the older generation expect to move in with their children if they were to require long term care in the future, exploding the myth that older people depend on their families to provide their housing and care support when it is required.

In stark contrast, it’s the younger generation who believe their families will look after their care when they reach old age. Almost a third (31%) of 18-34 year olds expect their families to personally provide their care, either by moving in with their children or with their children acting as carers.

Similarly, nearly a third of those surveyed across all age groups would prefer to provide care for their relative in their own home (31%). Only one in seven (14%) would opt to secure a place at a care home as a first option and these would only do so as they feel that professionals would be able to provide the best level of care.

However, almost half of those surveyed (46%), and particularly those over 50 (58%), believe that the State should pay for the care needs for older people. Of these over 50s, 48% believe that as having paid taxes throughout their lifetime, the Government should provide support when they need it, and a quarter feel the Government should fund long term care as the State pension isn’t high enough to fund care home fees (24%). With these views in mind, it will be interesting to see what solution the Government proposes to this dilemma when they issue their green paper into long-term care funding later this year.

When it comes to funding, most over 50s would be appalled at the prospect that their children would need to provide financial support to pay for their Long Term Care with only 2% of independent over 50s expecting family members to help. However, this is often necessary if people want to receive care in the home of their choice that costs more than the local authority would be willing to pay.

Despite this dogged independence many of the older generation, although resigned to going into care, are not facing up to the practical issue of how to pay for it and the potential consequences of not planning ahead. Of those that do plan to fund their own care the over 50s are clearly less prepared, with less than one in ten (8%) having the money in savings, compared with nearly one in five under 35s (18%) who claim to be preparing for the cost.

However despite aiming to pay for fees out of savings, many may find the real cost of care is far beyond their expectations. On average someone who requires care in a residential care home may expect to pay in the region of £25,000 per annum, a huge ongoing sum of money to find at any age, yet alone in their later years. Compare that for example with the average mortgage cost which is small by comparison at just £6,820.68** per annum.

Alex Edmans, Care Funding Adviser, Saga Personal Finance, comments: “This research clearly highlights that despite younger people feeling an obligation to provide care in the first instance, older people do not want to rely on their families for financial or physical support when it comes to their long term care needs. If long-term care is required we would urge families to talk about this critical issue as early as possible, and seek professional advice as there are things that can be done to ensure that fees can be met for life and also to protect assets as far as possible.”

Saga would recommend that people who need to plan for long term care, for themselves or a loved one, should seek advice from appropriately qualified advisers. Many people paying for care could be missing out on state benefits or losing money by not considering the full range of options available. Whilst this may seem a simple oversight, the consequences could be devastating with loved ones potentially facing the trauma of having to be moved from the care home they are settled in when the money runs out.

For people requiring advice on their long-term care funding options for themselves or a loved one, contact Saga’s specialist team on 0800 056 6101


Editors notes:

*Analysis carried out by Opinium Research on an online poll of 2,129 British adults between 10th to 13th February 2009.

** Based on £100,000 repayment mortgage with an interest rate of 4.72% Source: Moneyfacts (March 09)

Saga Care Funding Advice Service is a trading style of Saga Personal Finance Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Saga Personal Finance Limited is registered in England and Wales (Company No: 3023493) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saga Group Limited. Registered Office: The Saga Building, Enbrook Park, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 3SE

Saga Care Funding Advice Service offers

Independent and impartial advice

All advisers have CF8 qualification as a minimum and are knowledgeable in all aspects of care funding legislation and the financial products available

Initial discussions and advice is free

For more information, please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.

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