United Kingdom

Majority of over-45s have not planned or spoken about care in later life

January 2018

Most people over the age of 45 have no plans in place for care in later life and are not clear on the government policy on elder care, according to a report.

The Care Report 2017 by pension provider Just Group, found that 73% of over-45s are avoiding the subject of care in old age.

The findings were released and picked up by Professional Adviser, just as the government announced that a government Green Paper on care and support for older people would be published by summer 2018.

Over two thirds (67%) of the 1,088 respondents were not aware of the level of assets they could own before having to pay their care costs and more than two thirds, (52%) will not make financial plans until new rules are in place.

However, the Just Group are keen to stress that there is no time like the present to begin making plans for care because, by 2040, the group predicted, the number of people over 85 in care would amount to 3.2million.

When the sample was asked where they would go for advice if they needed residential care, more than half (51%) said they would approach charity Age UK, 38% said their local authority, and 34% Citizens Advice. And a slim 12% said they would seek financial advice.

The group’s communications director Stephen Lowe said: "[Our report] shows there's a very real sense that confusion over government policy is stopping people from [planning ahead]. Delaying plans puts people at greater risk of having to make decisions at a point of crisis, when they are ill-prepared mentally, physically and financially to get the outcome they want."

Principal consultant at Aon Employee Benefits Clare Sheridan said that it was “human nature” to think about the here and now, planning for retirement is one thing but planning past that is not what many people do or want to acknowledge.

She said: “Most people do, however, assume that they will have to rely on family and friends due to the lack of State support.

People are confused about what is available and what they are entitled to, she said and explained that the story around limits is “forever changing”.

“When the Care Act was introduced in 2015, there was a suggested cap on care costs of £72,000. However, this is now in doubt following the General Elections of 2015 and 2017,” Sheridan said.

She added: “Currently, if you have more than £23,250 in assets, such as your home or savings, you will need to meet the full cost of care. This in many cases results in selling the family home to meet the cost of care, which is leading many people to believe that there is no point in accumulating wealth as this will only be used in future to meet the costs of care.”

In conclusion, Sheridan said: “In the future Aon will be looking to work with employers in order to educate employees about the importance of forward planning.

“The State/benefits market needs to help here and provide some form of eldercare assistance. There are solutions to support people with their requirements and people should not be afraid to ask, it is not a taboo subject. It is never too early to start advance care planning.”

 

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