Re: Winter 2013/14 - Page 90

Care home costs It has been claimed that the government’s long-awaited overhaul of the social care system in England – including the introduction of a cap on bills – does not go far or fast enough to address the potential problem that thousands of families are facing. Under the current system in England anyone with assets, including their home, worth more than £23,500 gets no financial support if they have to go into a care home. The average cost of a room in a care home now stands at just over £28,000 a year but for those needing more intensive nursing care, annual bills regularly reach well over £40,000. As a consequence millions of younger people who are currently relying on an inheritance to fund their own retirement could be facing serious financial problems if they do not make alternative plans urgently. It is reported that three out of four people whose parents go into a care home lose all or most of their inheritance. 88 Thus, younger generations could be in for a long wait if they’re banking on an inheritance to fund their own retirement. People should be making their own retirement plans rather than factoring in property and wealth that could be whittled away by the cost of care and inheritance tax. Sweeping reforms of the social care system, based on the landmark recommendations of a commission chaired by the economist Andrew Dilnot, are currently going through Parliament. They will cap the amount people should have to pay for care at £72,000 – more than twice the level originally envisaged. This does not take into account what people in care will have to pay for accommodation nor any money they have paid for personal care before they were deemed frail enough for social services to step in. Startling figures also estimate that only one in eight elderly people will ever qualify for the cap.