A number of families are being driven to 'breaking point' by an increasingly complex social care system, warns a consumer watchdog.
Which? claims people trying to organise care for a loved one face a 'maze' of confusing advice and information, while those who are not eligible for state funding are finding it difficult to even obtain simple information.
The comments follow research which asked 30 people across the UK to keep a diary as they tried to organise care for their partners, parents or themselves.
Lack of information results in ‘unnecessary distress’
'Organising care is a complex process,' said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd.
'But we found it's often made worse by a lack of relevant information, confusing jargon and some services leaving people to work it out for themselves, resulting in unnecessary distress for family carers.'
In light of the findings, the watchdog has launched a new website to give people free advice when it comes to organising care.
It offers advice through four key sections including housing options and finance.
As well as supplying detailed advice guides, the service also provides checklists and links to useful organisations and websites.
Current system ‘outdated’ and ‘confusing’
Norman Lamb, minister of care and support, admits the current system has a number of flaws that need to be addressed.
'We recognise that the current system is outdated and confusing for people to navigate,' he commented.
'It's vital that the information and advice that people receive about their care and support helps them to understand and find their way through the system easily.
'That's why we are introducing new measures in the Care Bill to ensure that local authorities provide clear information and advice for both adults and carers.
‘This includes helping people understand how the care and support system works and how to access services when they need them.'
It is hoped that the reforms will also protect people against unlimited care costs through the introduction of a cap, offering greater peace of mind and ending the uncertainty and anxiety of the current system.