Quarter of a million elderly will be paying for care by twenty thirty

The number of older people who will be forced to pay their own care bills will double over the next 20 years to more than a quarter of a million, a report said yesterday.

It said spending constraints and growing demand for help will mean councils no longer provide any care apart from that which the law forces them to pay for.

The report for local authorities predicted that numbers who have to pay for their own care at home – ranging from meals-on-wheels to help washing and dressing – or meet their own care home bills will reach 264,000 by 2030.

By then the bill to taxpayers for elderly care will have reached £26.7billion, an 84 per cent rise on current levels, it said.

The analysis was produced for the Local Government Association, the umbrella body for councils, which currently channels £14.5billion into providing home care for the vulnerable and subsidising places in care homes.

It comes amid growing pressure on ministers to pump extra money into the care system.

A White Paper next month is expected to indicate whether the Coalition will agree to extra  spending or continue to rely on the existing unpopular means-tested arrangement.

The current system means many thousands of those who need help at home get no assistance and no advice on how to buy their own care, while tens of thousands of older people each year have to sell their house to meet care home bills.

A report for the Government last year by economist Andrew Dilnot suggested a £100,000 means test threshold to help avoid older people having to sell assets to fund care.

At present, the state starts to pay when a person’s capital drops below £23,250.

He also suggested that no one should have to spend more than £50,000 on their care bills. Independent analysts believe the cost of putting the Dilnot package into effect would be £1.7billion a year.

The Daily Mail has been pushing to improve care for older people in its Dignity For The Elderly campaign.

The LGA said that councils should receive more help from the Treasury. David Rogers, LGA care chief, said: ‘Failure to take a lead on the reform of funding adult social care is unforgivably short sighted and threatens to affect the services we all take for granted.

‘Without urgent reform we are going to see the cost of providing social care for the elderly soaking up every last penny of council budgets.’

Spending on care for the elderly could threaten spending in other areas such as parks and swimming pools, the LGA said.

The Association said its figures had been calculated by the Economics of Social and Health Care Research Unit, taking into account rising numbers of older people and spending cuts until 2017.


Sourced from The Daily Mail, 30th May 2012.