Majority of people unprepared for adult social care costs, LGA finds

Just 15% of adults said they were making plans for how to pay future care fees, while a quarter thought social care was free at the point of access

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The majority of people in England have not made plans for how they will pay for adult social care in older age, according to research.

A public poll by BritianThinks, commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), found that only 15% of adults were making plans for how they would pay for care they might need in the future. Meanwhile, 50% of a group of 1,741 adults surveyed said they had never thought about how they would pay for care when they get older.

A lack of awareness about council social care services was also highlighted by the poll. Around half of adults (48%) said they had “little to no understanding” of what the term social care meant, compared to a much smaller 13% of people who said they knew what the term meant and had a good understanding of it.

Around 5% of people said they had never heard of the term ‘social care’ at all, with 44% of those surveyed thinking social care was provided by the NHS. More than a quarter (28%) believed social care was free at the point of access.

Improving public understanding

Following the results, the LGA has called on the government to lead a national campaign to heighten the profile and reputation of adult social care, with a particular focus on improving understanding social care and ensuring people are prepared for potential care costs.

Chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, councillor Ian Hudspeth, said: “This polling raises real concerns over how prepared people are for their own care needs, or the care of their loved ones.

“Half of the public polled have little or no understanding of what social care means, whilst only 15 per cent of people are making plans to pay for their care in later life, with those from poorer social backgrounds half as likely to have a plan in place compared to those in wealthier social circumstances.”

‘Bold solutions’

Talking about the importance of a national campaign to raise awareness of social care, Hudspeth, said: “If we are to truly tackle adult social care, we must aspire to social care having a similar ‘national treasure’ status as the NHS, with similar levels of awareness and understanding about what social care is and why it matters.

“With low public awareness of social care and people’s preparedness for how to pay for it, it is more important than ever that the Government get on and publish their green paper, start a massive campaign to raise awareness of what social care is and don’t duck the big issues on funding. We need bold solutions and we need them now.”

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2 Responses to Majority of people unprepared for adult social care costs, LGA finds

  1. Bob October 26, 2018 at 5:04 pm #

    They blame awareness, but could some of this be due to people reassessing how long they want to live? As the eligibility thresholds become ever tighter, social care may begin to seem to some people like a very expensive and uncomfortable way to spend their last few years. That 28% figure thinking it’s free is sure to fall with time, but some of them might be basically correct if they are the % who don’t have savings.

  2. Hilary Searing October 30, 2018 at 8:23 am #

    The majority of people want to stay in their own homes and would do everything to avoid going into a care home. Also, most people would be able to pay for the domiciliary services they might need in the future to enable them to remain independent and self-reliant. From my perspective as an older person I say we are right to think we may find themselves in need of end-of-life care eventually but we know that we will never be in need of publicly funded social care.