Costs are rising and care is in crisis as confusion reigns over who pays for what when it comes to long term care needs.
According to a report by Anchor, a not-for-profit housing and care provider for the over 55s, almost a quarter (24%) of people were unaware that the Government does not fully fund social care, and just 6% have started saving for future care needs.
The figures are worrying, as the report also says that half of those now aged 65 could face care bills of up to £20,000 and one in ten are expected to pay more than £100,000. Just 8% of those surveyed said that they would be willing to sell their property to pay for care costs, yet many could be forced to do just that.
Although health care costs for the elderly are covered by the state under current rules, social care costs are means tested. This means that many of those requiring help with acts of daily living such as washing and eating could have to contribute significant amounts to their care bills if they hold any savings and assets such as property.
Chris Horlick, managing director of Care at Partnership said: "A staggering 83pc of people were unaware of what help they were entitled to from central and local government for paying care costs."
The Health Select Committee issued a report today also suggesting widespread confusion over care costs, with many left unaware of care costs until the need arises.
Anchor Chief Executive, Jane Ashcroft, said:
"These figures lay bare the scale of the care crisis. It has been all too convenient for politicians to allow it to remain hidden from individuals until it is too late. It is essential that the Government acts now to reform this broken system.
"Too often, people only learn that they have to pay for their care at the point they need it. This is a national crisis, which is relevant to each of us irrespective of our current age. The Government must not be allowed to ignore this.
"Three months ago, we handed a 137,000-strong petition to Number 10, calling for the Government to appoint a dedicated Minister for Older People to deal with this and other urgent issues raised by demographic change. Many who signed the petition said social care funding should be a top priority for the Minister."
Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK, told the Health Select Committee this week:
"Our social care system is broken - built on an outdated legal foundation and starved of the funding needed to meet rapidly growing demand. There are 6.4 million carers in the UK caring for ill, frail or disabled loved ones. Many are paying the price of a care system in crisis - being forced to give up work to care and often pushed in ill-health, financial hardship and debt because of a lack of support to help them care."
For information on long term care annuities which can help cover the cost of long term care needs visit our annuities section. For information on retirement savings options visit our pensions section.