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The Invisibles, part 2

This article continues from The Invisibles, part 1.

If a far greater number of the elderly were able to enjoy the care option of staying in their own home through the provision of financial support, it would have the double benefit of opening this option up to substantially increased numbers, while simultaneously leaving available more accommodation in residential care homes for those whose need is more specific in care terms, or who choose this option as the preferred lifestyle in later life.  However, many elderly who would prefer this option fall outside of any yardstick for the provision of financial support.

A new report A Case for Sustainable Funding for Adult Social Care by London Councils predicts a funding gap of £907 million within five years.

London Councils is the local government association funded and run by the 32 London boroughs, the City of London, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

The gap was estimated assuming a 5% cut in local authority budgets at the next spending review.  If the cut was as much as 15%, says the think tank, the gap would rise to £1.1bn.  It would be unrealistic to consider that the problems faced in London are unique to the capital and undoubtedly extend to a greater or lesser degree to councils across the country.

However, once again, this report, like others before it, it glides past the “invisibles” – failing to illuminate the situation of those who have made a conscious decision to stay in their own homes and fund the cost of live-in or live-out carers entirely out of their own pockets.

Without doubt, funding for those seeking residential care without having to divest themselves of all assets seems to be the sole focus.

A 2011 report by economist Andrew Dilnot recommended setting a limit between £25,000 and £50,000 to stop pensioners being forced to sell their homes to cover costs. But again, if this report is implemented, it will not benefit those wishing to take the route of staying in their own homes.

It is now high time for the government to give this their urgent attention, and create a financial pathway that opens up live-in care to a greater number of the elderly.  The “invisibles” need their own champion, and the government should see beyond their current focus.

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