Thursday 23 November 2017
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Care crunch looming for over 65s - Bupa

Older people are overwhelmingly failing to plan for later life and haven’t woken up to the impending care crunch, according to new research

Instead they are choosing to rely on the ‘disintegrating' informal care network provided by friends and families, it adds.

The Bupa study conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE) reveals that less than a quarter (22%) of over 65s have put money aside for their later years and impending care needs.

It also shows that two thirds (65%) are assuming their families will be there to shoulder the burden of their care.

This leaves them vulnerable as the report explains that "the ‘informal care network' (the traditional pattern of families looking after their elderly) is disintegrating.

"This is due to a number of factors, including the number of older people in need of care growing faster than the number of potential carers from younger generations, the growth of women in employment and the increase of one person households," it continues.

The report indicates this lack of planning may be prompted by the emergence of a young-at-heart generation, who still feel young and healthy in their 70s and 80s, resulting in a live for today attitude.

It reveals 70% of those aged 65 and over do not consider themselves to be ‘old' and nearly three-quarters (73%) say that they still feel healthy.

Although pleased by the positive attitude, Oliver Thomas, director of Bupa's UK care homes, warns over 65s should not be complacent.

"While it's good news that 80 is the new 65, it's clear that people haven't woken up to the impending care crunch and considered who will look after them when they are no longer able to look after themselves," he says.

"Pensions aren't the only thing we should be thinking about, our care needs are just as important. We need to realise that nowadays most families are not equipped to provide the specialist care that our older relatives require, especially when it comes to complex diseases such as dementia."

"All older people have the right to personalised, quality care, but this will only be possible if people who are living for today, also start planning for tomorrow," he adds.

Jose-Luis Fernandez, principal research fellow at LSE, explains the looming global care crisis.

"Across the world, a combination of societal and economic factors - including demographic changes, the breakdown of the extended family, and the rise in divorce rates, migration and women in the workplace - are eroding the family-supported structures that have historically provided the bulk of the care for dependent older people," he says.

"With state social care systems also under huge financial strain, a global challenge is emerging about how to support dependent older people in the future."

Source IFA Online