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The black hole of care fees. We DO need a plan

Blog Post 14 November 2017

The black hole of care fees. We DO need a plan

I get all sorts across my desk: Sweet wrappers from my handbag, the odd mint that has escaped its plastic dispensing box, bills, a copious supply of coffee and chilled water  . . . and care data.

For someone who is not wired with numbers – my bent is the arts – I get an awful lot of stats.

Has anyone heard of the Centre for the Modern Family (CMF)?

Well, I have some stuff from them and though it tells me what I already know, the very nature of content demands a bigger airing in the vague hope it will help educate a reluctant audience.

It’s a ticking time bomb, a huge black hole in our personal finances, and an issue that, once upon a time, figured prominently in the fervent campaigning around the last general election.

Enter the cost of caring, now not so fashionable it appears. But the truth is – as the study authors state – it’s “one of the biggest financial threats facing British adults.”

With the number of people in care expected to double by 2035, the latest figures show that not only are we facing a perception gap of £7bn when it comes to estimating the costs involved, but barely one in ten of us is doing anything about it.

The CMF think tank informs us: “While UK adults expect the elderly care bill to come in at around £550 a week, the true cost is closer to £870, leaving a gap of just under £320 a week per adult.”

Half of us simply avoid thinking about the looming problem of how we’ll find all that money, consistently, for years on end and one in four say they have no idea how they will cover the costs for themselves or a relative.

Sadly, the overwhelming evidence suggests we need to have a plan.

In the hope someone may even respond to this news that eventually found its way into the columns of the finance section of the Independent Online, here are a few shocking facts:

  • About 40 per cent of the over 65s and almost half of those over 75 currently have a limiting longstanding illness.
  • The majority of those aged over 80 have a disability. And with an ageing population, related illness and disease will affect more than six million people – around 9 per cent of the total population by 2030 – if left unchecked.
  • Those born between 2009 and 2011 will have only have 66 years of so-called good health.

Age UK recognises we could never really be in a position to save all the money required to fund parent care, let alone our own.

Measures to bridge the costing chasm are needed and until the Government steps in, I’m all for talks with a good independent financial advisers . . . and the indulgence of chocolate, of course. Now, please!

Debbie Le Quesne - CEO West Midlands Care Association