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Several studies recently have revealed that the extent of the care funding crisis facing retirees in the UK is much larger than previously thought, with many more people finding that they will have to sell their family homes to afford rising residential care costs.
Research conducted on behalf of the insurance company NFU Mutual discovered that in the past five years, over one million families have been forced to sell their homes to cover the costs of care in their old age. The findings of the ICM poll come only weeks after separate research revealed that up to a quarter of the UK’s 8 million retired home-owners are planning to sell up to fund their old-age.
Pensions experts and charities working with the elderly hailed the studies as representing one of the first realistic attempts to quantify just how large the care funding crisis in the UK is. They also claimed that Government plans to introduce a cap on care bills does not go far enough and millions of people will still be left financially exposed during their old age.
With the average cost of a room in a care home now £28,000 a year, and nursing home places costing on average £40,000, many people are understandably concerned about affording care in their old age, without having to sell their homes. The costs of care can also affect younger people who may have been hoping to fund their own retirements with inheritances left to them by their elderly relatives – this money may now be used to fund their relatives’ care home places.
Reforms to the social care system in the UK are currently going through Parliament, however many are concerned that these do not go far enough, offering only limited protection from the massive costs of care in old age and still potentially leaving many people financially exposed. In the words of Dr Ros Altman, a pensions expert and former government policy adviser:
"I don’t think anybody has properly woken up to the scale of the crisis that we face in social care. We have got a pensions crisis because we have millions of people who haven’t enough money saved for their pension – the social care crisis is far worse. We have tried to adopt an ostrich approach to this, burying our heads in the sand and hoping it will go away…
…We are going to have many more years of people having to find tens of thousands of pounds a year to pay for their care. Families have got to realise that whether or not they will inherit money might well depend on the lottery of whether they end up needing care.”
Here at Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors, our Private Client Department can help you to prepare financially for the costs of care in your old age. We can provide advice on ways to minimise your financial exposure to care costs, so that, where possible, you can avoid having to sell your home to fund the cost of your place in a residential or nursing care home. Our services are available to people in England and Wales.
In addition to safeguarding your finances, our Solicitors and Legal Executives can also provide you with advice and assistance when it comes to challenging any funding decisions that might affect your care. This can be particularly important if an assessment as concluded you are liable to pay some or all of your own care costs, but you suspect that the decision was flawed.
For more information about our Private Client legal services and how we can help you to prepare your finances for old age, call our Private Client Department today on 0151 239 1064 or fill in the enquiry form here on our website and a member of staff will call you back to discuss your case.