Over the last 20 years hundreds of thousands of older people have been forced to sell their home to cover the cost of social care, charity reveals.
A new report from Independent Age estimates that since 2000 more than 330,000 older people have had to sell their homes to pay for care costs including help with washing, getting dressed and going to the toilet.
Entitled Homing in on free personal care, the study calls on the Government to provide free personal care to older people which, they argue, would ‘significantly reduce’ unmet care needs.
It would also, the report says, lead to more people being cared for in their own home, which would reduce pressure on the NHS.
More than three-quarters of people (78%) across England support the introduction of free personal care for people aged 65 and over who need it, the charity’s research found.
Around 74% would contribute more in some way to fund it and 68% of those aged 18-24 would support the introduction of free personal care.
In 2015, the Government introduced Deferred Payment Agreements (DPAs), which are arrangements with the council that allows people to use the value of their homes to help pay care costs.
Independent Age submitted a Freedom of Information Request to all 152 local authorities in England with responsibility for adult social care in July 2019. Of the 93 who responded, seven had no DPAs in place, 29 had accepted all of their applications, and three had not accepted any applications.
‘Our findings show exactly why free personal care is so badly needed,’ said Morgan Vine, campaigns manager at Independent Age.
‘Even arranging DPAs – a safety net to prevent people having to sell their homes within their lifetime – is proving to be a postcode lottery and doesn’t address the unacceptable situation where people are still required to spend a catastrophic amount on their care.
‘Our prime minister has announced his intention to fix the social care system, and it’s crucial that free personal care is part of that solution. Free personal care is an affordable option for the country and is popular with people of all generations.’