A report released last week called on individuals, commissioners and the government to take greater responsibility with respect to elderly care funding to help avoid a care crisis. This move is backed by champion of the elderly, Esther Rantzen, Katherine Murphy, CEO of the Patients Association, and by Ros Altmann, the Government’s Older Workers’ Business Champion and financial investment tsar.
The report identified the care choice gap that exists between the type of care people want and the care they think they may end up receiving in their old age. The report recommended:
- Awareness – people should know more about the choices available including the option of live-in, 24/7 care in their own homes on a one-to-one basis
- Planning – individuals and families need to take responsibility for their own long-term care, as the support the state is able to provide is already stretched. Exploring the financial options available early on can facilitate a person’s ideal care choice before a crisis situation develops
- Commissioning – NHS commissioners need to think about the individuals they are providing care for and how best to meet their needs and wants
“The Care Choice Gap” report, commissioned by Consultus Care & Nursing, is based on a survey of over 2000 adults conducted by independent pollster, One Poll. It has revealed that despite most people over 75 years wanting to be cared for in their own homes, only 54% think this could be a reality and 23% said they didn’t know what would happen to them in their old age. Just 3% said they would like to be cared for in a residential home; whilst 86% of people surveyed have never discussed their wishes for care with loved ones. Individuals need to make their wishes known so that family can support and help with accessing the care they want.
Peter Seldon, CEO of Consultus, said:
“As a provider of live-in carers and nurses to thousands of elderly people across the UK since 1962, we have a clear insight into the care needed and wanted by many elderly people today. With the post war ‘baby boom’ we all know our population is ageing and increasing numbers will need care in later life. It is only right they receive the type of care they want. According to the independent survey we commissioned, 97% of people feel most comfortable in their own home when they are over 75, but sadly for many this isn’t the reality.
Betty Southwell has been able to benefit from a live-in carer following a fall and ill health. Her daughter explains: “My mother had always made it absolutely clear she was not going to leave the family home under any circumstances. After increasing ill health and frailty, she ended up with a urinary tract infection which left her very ill. At 96 years old the decision was made that she needed full time nursing care. We used a live-in nurse from Consultus for five days before moving to a live-in carer. Mother is very well cared for and, thanks to the efficient nursing and constant care, has now returned to better health. Because she made her wishes clear, she is getting the type of care she wants and needs.”
The Care Choice Gap report demonstrates that most people have an idea of how they would like to be cared for in their old age, but many do not want to think about it, discuss it or make any financial plans for it. As a result, contrary to the wishes of many, care in old age often ends up as the default option of residential homes or short domiciliary visits.
It’s clear the state cannot fund care to the level older people need and want: funding our own old age care will become an increasing reality. The government will need to help people to help themselves, whether this is through tax breaks for the costs of care, saving initiatives, specialist mortgages or by some other means; the country’s changing demographics demand that we need to take positive action to plan for our future care.
The report can be downloaded from www.consultuscare.com/care-choice-report