In a country where consumer debt is now running at about
£4,000 a person, it is easy to forget just how much hardship
and austerity many older people have lived through. Unfortunately
the “don’t worry about me, dear” mentality could have unintended
consequences under the government’s self-assessment proposal in the
adult green paper.
Already one social services director has warned that many older
people are likely to be “very unambitious” in assessing their own
needs. The danger is that those who are used to quietly accepting
their lot will receive less, while the most vocal and determined
The government believes the self-assessment system will cost no
more than the current arrangements and claims that it could lead to
savings of 10 per cent or more.
But if older people with very modest expectations are even to get
to the starting blocks, the help, advice and encouragement of a
small army of social care professionals is going to be essential.
Without it, the government may well make savings – but they will
come from thousands of vulnerable people unwittingly capping the
cost of their own care.