Survey Says, No Advice Please, We’re From The West Midlands
Twice as many adults in the West Midlands admit they don’t know how care homes are funded when compared with their East Midlands neighbours, according to a new poll.
The YouGov survey, commissioned by leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell, found 15% of West Midlands adults are in the dark about how care in later life is funded - more than double the East Midlands - while 74% confessed to having no idea how much a care home costs in one year.
In one poll local people underestimated the cost by £13,894 a year, putting the figure at just £604 a week, when the average weekly cost is £871 - up 10.1% in the last 12 months.
The findings come as the long awaited government green paper on funding care continues to be delayed. The lack of information is leading to a knowledge vacuum when it comes to later life care, compounded by 16% in the West Midlands admitting they would be unlikely to seek any advice before signing a care home contract – more than any other UK region.
The report falls against a backdrop of Care Quality Commission reports (Oct 2018) revealing the ‘shocking state’ of some care homes in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, with 13 listed ‘inadequate’ and 160 ‘required improvement’. Just nine were judged ‘outstanding’.
Expert Opinion“It is alarming so many either don’t know the cost of care, don’t know how it is funded and would not seek any advice before signing a care contract.
“The long-term financial and social implications for our region are huge. Given government silence, the West Midlands is not alone when it comes to being in the dark on the issues, but topping the poll on such key issues must be addressed. Kelly Greig - Partner
Without a basic knowledge of the realities or a willingness to seek professional advice, those needing care and their families could find themselves out of pocket or their later years made a misery.
Being forced to sell the family home to pay for care is unthinkable for some; yet being given 24 hours’ notice to quit a care home, or being trapped in an unsuitable one due to terms and conditions they didn’t think to question can be worse.
Some families are confronting such realities already and with neither government nor public confronting the implications of underfunding, a crisis looms.
Kelly added: “Funding must come from somewhere, yet we continue to await political proposals and too many are not saving for care fees and have no plans to.
“Similar numbers would like to pass on assets to family and give money to grandchildren, but without planning ahead, such aspirations are likely to remain just that. We urgently need a wider debate among both politicians and public concerning the realities of funding care in later life.”