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Facing up to the future of social care

Facing up to the future of social care

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 23 September 2009

Social care must adapt to digital age, as research predicts a generation of “Silver Tweeters”.

People across the country will come face to face with their future selves from today, as Care Services Minister Phil Hope launches the Big Care Debate “Face of Care”.

The online software,, will allow people to ‘age’ a photo of themselves and generate an image of what they might look like in old age.

Alongside facts and stats on the care and support system, the snapshot will be a fun but frank look at what might be in store for people as they get older.

In using the application, people will also be encouraged to have their say on proposals for a radical reform of the care and support system, including the creation of a new National Care Service that is fairer, simpler and more affordable for everyone.

The launch comes as new research out today shows that the next generation of pensioners are more likely to be found basking on the beach or tweeting on their 3-G phone than joining their local bowls club.

Over three-quarters (80%) of those questioned said that they would be checking their emails daily when they reach 70 years old, while a third (33%) said that they will have the latest technology, like a 3-G phone. Over half reckon they will spend their retirement travelling abroad.

The older people of tomorrow will be a toe-tapping bunch too, with a quarter (24%) saying they’ll be putting the latest music downloads on their MP3 players, while half the respondents said they would be going to music festivals and rock concerts at 70 years old.

Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham said:

“The challenge for Government is to build a care and support system that delivers fairer, more affordable and more joined up support for older people.

“At the moment, there’s a big gap between people’s aspirations and what is affordable under the current care and support system. That’s why we’re changing care and support and we want to get people’s views on how the system needs to change.”

For further information about the Big Care Debate and links to the ‘Shaping the Future of Care Together’ green paper visit

Notes to Editors

For more information or to arrange an interview with Phil Hope and/or a case study who can talk about the impact of the proposals in the Green Paper, please contact: Claudia Moselhi or Simon Goldsborough on 0207 815 3900 or email

*The research was carried out by Opinion Matters for the Department of Health between 13.07.09 and 22.07.09 amongst 2003 adults in England.

1. The Green Paper Shaping the Future of Care Together can be found at

2. People can contribute to the debate in a variety of ways.
- Through the website and facebook site.
- Through a series of events, including the one mentioned above. For dates and locations see

3. There are currently around four people of working age for every person retired. By 2050, this will halved to two people. So there will be half the amount of people paying taxes to support the increasing numbers in retirement.

4. The Green Paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together, published on 14 July, sets out a vision for a National Care Service. A service which is fair, simple and affordable for all adults. Everyone in England will be guaranteed:
- Prevention services - the right support to stay independent and well for as long as possible.
- National assessment - care and support needs will be assessed and paid for in the same way across the country.
- Joined-up services – care and support services working together smoothly.
- Information and advice – clear information and advice provided.
- Personalised care and support - services are designed and delivered around personal circumstances and need.
- Fair funding - money will be spent wisely and everyone who qualifies will get some help meeting the cost of their care and support needs.

There are three proposals for funding a National Care Service:

- Partnership – the responsibility for paying for care and support would be shared between the Government and the person who has care and support needs. The Government provides between a quarter and a third of the cost of care, more for people on a low income. Today’s 65 year olds will need care costing on average £30,000.

- Insurance – the same as partnership but the Government could help people to prepare to meet the costs that they would have to pay for themselves, through an insurance-based approach. As well as receiving between a third and a quarter of the cost of care and support, the Government would make it easier for people to take out insurance to cover care costs. It is estimated that the cost of insurance could be around £20,000 to £25,000.

- Comprehensive – everyone over the retirement age who can afford it would pay into a state insurance scheme, so that everyone who needs care will receive it free. It is estimated that the cost of being in the system could be between £17,000 and £20,000.

We would also look at having a full care and support system for people of working age who needed it alongside this.


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