/ Health

Have you planned for care in later life?

Pensions savings

Only a small fraction of us are planning for care costs in later life, according to our new research. How concerned should we be?

As I plan my day to day spending, I don’t think much further than the next holiday. Even home improvements that are a year away seem too far in the future to save for.

So it doesn’t altogether surprise me that only one in ten adults aged 55 years or over say they have put aside money to pay for any care needs as they get older, according to our new research.

Like me, more than half of those over-55s say they are prioritising other things they want or need to do right now, over planning for potential care needs.

And this is backed up by behavioural research: even if we get good information and advice, we don’t want to think about ageing and needing care.

Non-planners

So how can the government help people like me – the non-planners? Well, rather than encouraging me to plan, a new policy report by Which? says it can improve the system to help me live at home for as long as possible in retirement.

When asked to think about what changes they may make if their health and mobility did deteriorate, nine in ten people aged 55 and over said they would be willing to make adaptations to their homes to aid mobility and a similar percentage said they would be willing to use mobility aids outside the home.

This resonates with me. My parents have installed a number of aids and adaptations to help them enjoy their home: the bath lift that allows them a well-earned soak, the riser-recliner chair that looks like a very superior addition to their furniture rather than something you’d find in a hospital, the very smart trolley that also serves as a walking aid.

Such equipment – more acceptable when it looks desirable – could cut falls needing medical treatment by a quarter, and save the NHS and social care services £500m each year, the Centre for Ageing Better estimates.

Info deficit

The key to planning is also good information, but our research tells us that less than half of people know where to look for information about care. This is where Which? Elderly Care can help, which provides information on all aspects of choosing care, including financing and housing options.

The GP is trusted to give good advice and support, along with friends and family, but is the already packed 10-minute GP consultation really the best place to get care information?

What’s needed to make sure people get the advice they need from the places – like the GP surgery – they turn to?

Would you plan for your care? Is it on your list of things to save for? And – as the government works towards an Autumn social care green paper – what do you think is needed to support older people in the best way we can, given that many people use the care system for the first time at a time of crisis?

Populus, on behalf of Which?, surveyed 2104 UK adults online between 11-12 June 2018. The data were weighted to be demographically representative of the population.

Comments
Member

“Metro – NEWS… BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT
This may sum it up. Why should I believe what the Metro says?
There were no riots when we voted to leave the EU, nor when the Conservatives were re-elected in the general election. No riots when we were taken into a war with Iraq.

Do we really think that the remainers, or others, will riot? I find it hard to believe, unless some are misled once again as was tried before the referendum or more extreme factions try to stir up trouble.. But the general public? No, I think it will be a relief to get it over with.

However, I think if this discussion were to continue it would be better here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/brexit-white-paper-consumers/

Member

It won’t be long until we find out malcolm , nevertheless, I will take your advice and post elsewhere.

Member

Back to Carolyn’s question, may I suggest you log onto: Which.co.uk – Inheritance Tax (Last updated Aug 2018).

If you have saved for your own care then in my opinion you deserve 5 star private treatment.. A star rating system (as previously posted) could incentivise more people to save for their later years and care homes to up their act lest they face closure from a low star rating and boycott from prospective residents.

Member

I suggest that if care homes are given star ratings for different aspects of their service, this could include and be an extension of the CQC ratings: https://www.cqc.org.uk/what-we-do/how-we-do-our-job/ratings Other ratings could include assessment of outings arranged by care homes, and the views of those who live in these homes and those who visit.

Member

A bit like TripAdvisor then.

Member

Certainly not. Part of the information would come from the current CQC data and I envisage that the other ratings could be from proper research involving users of the home and their visitors.

Member

I agree Wavechange, although I am not sure about the efficacy of a traffic lights system as opposed to stars,

For example, stars are more readily identifiable and accepted by the human psyche when searching for suitable hotel accommodation and are easily recognisable on all advertising material, whereas traffic lights are perhaps more appropriately displayed on the base of food packaging in your local supermarket.

All advertising material pertaining to elderly care should include the number of stars awarded by the CQC and not kept hidden away in online reports where they are most probably infrequently visited.

More transparency and availability of information is needed to enable consumers to make informed choices on how to spend their own money during their final years, and therefore to have more redress when things go wrong, for example when 5 star expectations don’t meet the required standard.

Member

I was trying to support your suggestion, Beryl. Some bad apples in the care home sector seem to have raised a lot of concern in recent years and it’s enough of an upheaval moving into a care home without the worry of poor treatment at a high price.

However the information is presented the system would need to be regulated. In the food industry, some major manufacturers are still avoiding using the traffic light labels.

Member

I have very much enjoyed your discussion about different ways to rate care homes. As John explained below the CQC gives an overall rating based on the ratings for five different areas in an inspection. These are:
1. Are they safe? You are protected from abuse and avoidable harm.
2. Are they effective? Your care, treatment and support achieves good outcomes, helps you to maintain quality of life and is based on the best available evidence.
3. Are they caring?