Older people who need social care are paying more than ever before, according to Age UK. New analysis suggests that private spending on social care has risen by 4.5% (£380 million) in the last year and is likely to continue to increase each year.
The charity’s analysis shows that in England more and more older people are paying for their own care, supporting its call for a new clear and transparent care and support system that will allow people to plan for the cost of care in later life. At the moment there is no realistic way for people to avoid potentially catastrophic costs – it is estimated that one in ten of those needing care spend over £100,000.
Over the same period of time there has been a fall in public sector spending on older people’s care of £341 million or approximately 4.5%. That is a decrease from £7.65 billion in 2010-11 to an estimated £7.3 billion in 2011-12 (2011 prices).
In 2011/2012 private expenditure on social care, which includes charges for council-funded services, top up payments to supplement local authority payments that do not completely cover residential care home fees, and privately purchased home and residential care was an estimated £8.78 billion(1), in comparison to £8.4 billion spent on private expenditure in 2010/2011.
Age UK estimates that by 2015, an extra £2.2 billion will come out of older people’s pocket to pay for social care services.
Age UK fears that continued increases in care costs could result in a number of older people not being able to afford their current care packages, leading them to either cut back or do without.
This extra spend comes at a time when public expenditure on social care is falling in real terms even though the population is rapidly ageing – the number of people aged 65 years and over is expected to rise by 65% in the next 25 years to over 16.4 million by 2033(2)