Elderly people fear that care services for the over-65s will be the first thing to be cut by councils struggling to balance their budgets.
A survey by care provider, Anchor, revealed that 69% of over-65s shares this concern, while six out of 10 people believe they will not be able to access high quality care as a result of cuts.
The survey also revealed that 45% thought cuts would increase the likelihood of people having to sell their homes to pay for care.
People in the north of England showed the most concern about the cuts and 47% said they were more concerned now than they were before the General Election in May this year.
The survey also revealed a degree of cynicism about politicians. Across England, 59% said they believed politicians were less interested in older people’s issues than they were before the election.
Andy Burnham, former secretary of state for health and a Labour leadership candidate, said: “We should be celebrating our ageing society, but instead the way our care system operates and the proposals for means-testing of benefits that are being mooted by the coalition shows a flagrant disrespect for older people.”
Paul Burstow, care services minister, replied to Burnham’s criticisms: “Labour had 13 years to sort out funding of care and support. They dropped the ball time and again.”
He said finding a fair and sustainable funding system for care was something the government was urgently working on by setting up the commission on the funding of care and support.
Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor, said there needed to be an honest dialogue about protecting the care of older people ahead of the government’s comprehensive spending review in October. She added: “Most significant is the sheer number of people worried about selling their home to pay for long-term care – the very problem the government has pledged to address.”
Several councils have already announced plans for cuts to services. Among them is Bromley Council which plans to cut in-house care provision.
Meanwhile Derbyshire has proposed to raise its eligibility threshold to substantial and experts fear many more councils are set to follow.
Service users can also expect to pay more in contributions to care as a wave of councils are considering raising maximum charges for non-residential services.
The Department of Health is yet to comment.
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