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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2011): Care of the elderly - UK

Britain's crippling elderly care bill

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, May 23rd 2011, p. 1 + 2

Research by the OECD suggests that a combination of low birth rates, rising life expectancy and family breakdown will force Britain to spend an extra 80bn per year on pensions, long-term care for the elderly and the health service by 2050. The mounting costs will leave working adults facing higher taxes, longer working lives and less inherited wealth as parents are forced to sell property to pay for care. This may lead to a breakdown in intergenerational solidarity. In order to preserve goodwill, older people will have to stay in work for longer and save more through private pensions so that they are seen to be fending for themselves.

Paying towards old age care should be made compulsory, say insurers

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, May 31st 2011, p. 4

In evidence to the Dilnot Commission, which is reviewing funding of long-term care for older people, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has argued that it should be made compulsory for workers to take out private insurance to cover future care costs. It warns that a voluntary contribution system will not work because people simply do not plan ahead. Other experts have recommended some form of automatic enrolment scheme for workers, which would rely on people not taking the trouble to opt out.

Questionnaire to pinpoint OAP deprivation levels

A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, May 9th 2011, p. 2

This article reports Coalition government plans to introduce a new indicator to measure the quality of life of pensioners. The new measure will use a set of 15 goods, services and experiences that are judged to be the best indicators of deprivation. Pensioners will be asked whether they can replace a cooker, go out socially at least once a month, take a holiday or have access to a car or taxi. The survey will help show whether the elderly are deprived and will help rescue pensioners from social isolation.

Save now for your care in old age

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, May 19th 2011, p. 2

The government has warned that individuals must be prepared to pay for their own care in old age, as there will be no NHS-style free care service for all. Ministers have stated categorically that anyone who believes their care will be free faces a 'rude awakening' as the costs of looking after an ageing population escalate over the next 20 years.

A stakeholder-centred exploration of the current barriers to the uptake of home care technology in the UK

J.S. Clark and M.R. McGee-Lennon

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 5, Mar. 2011, p. 12-25

It is increasingly accepted that it is both socially and economically beneficial to improve support for older people managing their care within their own homes, including through the use of assisted living technology (ALT) and telecare. However, the adoption of these technologies by clinicians, health and social care professionals, informal carers and end users is far from extensive or sustained. The study reported here used scenario-based focus groups with a wide variety of stakeholders in home care to identify current barriers to the uptake of ALT and telecare in Scotland. This article presents a list of the barriers, with a discussion of how each could be overcome.

Taxpayers may have to pay new levy to meet future cost of care homes.

O. Wright

The Independent, May 13th 2011, p.2

A report commissioned by the Government will recommend that it must significantly increase the amount it spends on care for the elderly. It proposes the introduction of a new or of a raised tax to help pay for the costs of assisting an ageing population, especially when it comes to financing the cost of care homes. At present, for those whose assets stand at less than 23,000 per year, the cost of care homes is paid for by councils. Under new proposals, care would be financed by a mixed system: partly by the Government and partly through a sort of public insurance system. In addition, Andrew Dilnot, author of the report and former head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has hinted that, in the future, the cost of care for the elderly might be shifted from councils to the NHS, in an effort to make efficiency savings.

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