|Is the answer to raise taxes on everyone during their working life?|
41% of residents in UK independent care homes are now paying for their own care - an increase of 28.5% in the last 10 years (from 130,000 in 2005 to167,000 in 2014). This rise is a result of the state-funded system declining while demand from our ageing population continues to rise.
The new report from Age UK ‘Behind the headlines: ‘Stuck in the middle – self funders in care homes’ is based on actual calls to Age UK’s information & advice line and highlights the real challenges many face in getting a fair deal.
The decision to move into a care home is very difficult and often made in a rush following a spell in hospital. At such an emotional time scrutinising the fine print in a care home contract and negotiating rates is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind – but the terms set at this point will have a huge impact not only on an older person’s quality of life but also on their finances too.
The report also reveals the extent to which ‘self-funders’ are ultimately paying the price for a care system under severe pressure. Care home providers have been increasingly financially squeezed, above all by big cuts in public funding for social care that in turn are forcing local authorities to drive down prices. As a result many care homes are struggling to balance the books and turning to self-funders to make up the shortfall to keep their homes open. Self-funders now on average pay between £603 & £827 a week depending on the area, compared to councils paying between £421 & £624 a week.