UK public woefully unprepared for cost of living in a care home

A survey published ahead of the annual Astellas Innovation Debate has found a huge discrepancy between current provision and funding of care for the elderly, and what is expected by the UK population as they reach old age.

The survey found that people are not preparing financially for residential care in older age, with over two-thirds (68%) of people questioned saying they are expecting the Government to fund high quality residential care in later life.

Despite only 21% believing elderly residential care will actually be provided by the state when they need it, people admit that they are not planning to pay for care themselves, with one in eight expecting their children to cover the costs and 30% willing to accept lower quality state social care.

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Just 10% say they would use a private insurance policy to pay for care home bills.

Experts say the knock-on effect of this lack of planning will only add further pressure to the current adult social care system, as well as send ripples right across the NHS.

Former Government Health Minister and MP, the Rt Hon Paul Burstow comments, “The NHS can only be sustainable if there is a functioning social care system too. Hospitals sit in a complex and increasingly fragile ecology. The poll for the debate reveals a worrying fatalism about the state of social care.  A bankrupt care system will undermine the NHS”.

Current shortages in elderly care cost the NHS £669 million according to an Age UK study.

In October 2015, the number of bed days lost due to delayed transfer of care peaked at 160,0943 leading to NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, to call for an urgent political consensus on paying for elderly and social care earlier this year.

The survey also revealed a significant lack of awareness among the general public about the cost of health and social care1.

Almost a third (29%) of those surveyed thought a day in a residential care home costs less than £70 per day when the actual cost averages at approximately £97 per day, with some nursing homes charging up to £2000 per week.

As part of the Astellas Innovation Debate, a new animated film was created that explores the relationship between ageing and healthcare costs – looking at the impact a single family has on the UK system.

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