Is East Of England Writing Cheques Reality Can’t Cash?
In a region with some of the highest weekly care home costs in the country, a new YouGov survey suggests adults in the East of England harbour few illusions when it comes to funding care in later life with only 3% thinking care homes are fully funded by the state.
The figures, taken from a poll commissioned by leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell, are less than half the national average – but paradoxically just 6% are currently saving for future care fees. Both figures are the lowest of any UK region, despite east England being such an expensive area for care.
In a further twist, 68% admit they do not know the cost of a care home and when asked to guess, one in ten underestimate by £43,500 a year, more than the average UK salary.
The average weekly cost in the East of England is £998 a week, with the figure currently rising by 7% each year, highlighting the urgent need for adults in the region to begin planning for later life.
The findings come as public and political attitudes to funding care in later life come under the spotlight. A government green paper on social care due in 2017 continues to be delayed; while investigations have revealed care homes not providing contracts, or failing to inform residents of important terms and conditions.
Expert Opinion“Politicians and public alike appear unwilling or unable to plan for funding future care, against a backdrop of rising prices in the sector, coupled with cuts to council care budgets, no government plan and no regional or national debate.
“Our survey shows a fifth of East Englanders plan to save for care at some point, but this is offset by three fifths not currently saving and with no plans to. Factor in a missing government green paper on the subject due in 2017, and it’s not hard to predict a coming crisis.”
“Current strain on the system is leading to care home scandals across the country, while pressures on both NHS and council budgets is already leading to insufficient care places for those in need. The ageing population represents a demographic time bomb that is already counting down and the pressure will prove unsustainable if nothing is done.
“The East of England will be one of the regions bearing the brunt of later life care in terms of both cost and capacity. A debate on the respective roles in terms of who pays for what and how is not just necessary, it is criminally overdue.” Kelly Greig - Partner