Welsh care home residents to keep more of their savings

 

Care home residents in Wales are to be allowed to keep more of their savings when they move into residential homes.

A new five-year plan announced by the Welsh government promises to raise the limit of savings residents can keep from £24,000 to £50,000, Wales Online reports.

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Social services minister Rebecca Evans said: “This government is committed to supporting older people, and those requiring care, which is why our five-year plan ‘Taking Wales Forward’ pledged to more than double the capital people can keep when in residential care.

“This frees up more of people’s money for them to use as they wish. The decision takes account of stakeholders’ views that a phased approach to implementing the new cap would allow local authorities and care homes time to adapt to the changes and for us to measure the day-to-day impact of the higher limit.”

The upper limit is to be raised to £30,000 in April 2017.

The Welsh Government says there are up to 4,000 care home residents who pay for the full cost of their care.

Increasing the capital limit to £50,000 has the potential to benefit up to 1,000 of these depending on the value of the capital they hold.

While welcoming the announcing, Mario Kreft, chair of Care Forum Wales, cautioned that the proposal had to be fully met by the public sector.

Mr Kreft said: “This policy needs to be funded otherwise local authorities or care homes themselves will be picking up the tab at a time when they are already being squeezed financially.

“Our concern is that there is not currently sufficient money in the system to sustain a viable health and social care sector in Wales to meet the needs of the population and there is potential for these changes to make things worse.

“The sector was already under pressure as the dependency of those needing care has increased, as thresholds for eligibility for care have increased, and fees have not kept up with requirements.”

“We are concerned that any losses to the sector due to these changes, estimated at over £10m across Wales, will need to be met in full by Welsh Government, otherwise the sector will be unsustainable.

“The vast majority of care homes in Wales are already heavily dependent on public sector fees and this change potentially increases number of residents dependent on the public sector. Therefore the costs need to be met in full by public sector.”

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