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Caring For Older Relatives: Brits Underestimate Costs And Are Unprepared

  • Brits underestimate costs of residential care by 62 per cent
  • Six in ten have not put in place any preparations for caring for a loved one and just seven per cent have discussed care plans with relatives
  • More than a third of Brits would prefer a live in carer for a relative but over one in ten unaware this was an option
  • Two in five would not even consider putting a relative into a care home

Britons underestimate the cost of residential care by 62 per cent according to a new findings from HomeTouch, the online service for finding home care.  More than a third (34 per cent) are unaware of care costs, with the average person anticipating a weekly setback of £377 – when in reality costs can be over £1,000 per week for residential care – a staggering difference that adds up to £31,000 per year.

With recent estimates indicating an additional 353,000 people in the UK aged 65 or over will have substantial care needs by 2025, HomeTouch set out to explore Britons’ preparedness and attitudes to care. The research of over 2,000 people reveals that as well as underestimating care costs, Britons are unprepared for the care itself, with more than six in ten (65 per cent) admitting they haven’t put any provisions in place for loved ones. There also appears to be a reticence to face up to care with just seven per cent of Britons saying they have discussed care plans with a family member in need.

In terms of the types of care available, many Britons are suspicious of current options. With The Care Quality Commission deeming a third (32 per cent) of residential care homes inadequate or in need of improvement, it is perhaps not surprising that two in five (45 per cent) do not trust the quality of care homes in the UK and a further 39 per cent said they wouldn’t consider putting a family member into a home. Half (50 per cent) of those surveyed cited the main reason for this was a lack of trust of others looking after family members.

When it comes to care preferences, more than a quarter (26 per cent) of Britons prefer a live in carer than residential care for their family member, however, more than one in ten (12 per cent) were unaware live in care was even an option.

Dr Jamie Wilson, CEO and founder HomeTouch said: “The findings show just how unprepared and uninformed we are about caring for elderly relatives. Care can be an emotive topic and one that many of us understandably resist, but it is best to explore options early and discuss them with your loved ones if you can.

There are many routes out there and new services now offer affordable options for home care that let people stay safe and happy in their own homes, while reducing the burden on the NHS.”

William Laing, founder of LaingBuisson, the healthcare market intelligence provider, comments: “Finding and retaining home carers for loved ones are the biggest challenges people face in caring for their relatives. With ever-increasing costs for residential care, the efficiencies new technologies can offer for live in care for the elderly will be key to solving the care crisis.”

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