Just 12% of adults aged 55 or over told us they have put aside money to pay for any future care needs – with more than half prioritising other things they want or need to do over planning for care.
Only a third (34%) of over-55s had discussed their preferences for care in later life with a friend or relative, while a fifth (19%) said they did not even know where to look for information about care.
Which? is calling on the Government to use this autumn’s social care green paper to create a social care system that works for consumers and helps them make positive living choices, before crisis-point.
Staying independent later in life When asked to think about what changes people would be willing to make if their health and mobility did deteriorate:
- 92% would make adaptations to their homes to aid mobility, such as installing a stairlift or low-cost aids.
- 89% would use outside mobility aids, such as a mobility scooter or walking stick.
- More than eight in 10 were happy to use a gardener, cleaner or handyperson to stay living independently.
Where to go for help with care
The research also found that when asked what would be their first port of call when looking into care options for themselves or a relative, Google was the most popular option among all adults – ahead of speaking to their local GP or friends and family.
Fewer than one in 10 would contact their local authority, the Care Quality Commission or a social worker first.
GP were the most trusted source of advice on care and support for older people, along with friends and family – despite local authorities being responsible for providing consumers with advice.
Just three in 10 (30%) of the over-55s we spoke to said they expected to get good quality care through the social care system. Concerns cited included lack of staff and resources to provide care needed and a lack of funding for the system as a whole.
Better social care system needed
The survey was carried out as part of a brand-new in-depth Which? report, Beyond Social Care: Keeping Later Life Positive. As the Government prepares its forthcoming green paper on social care, our research signals that any policy proposals that put the burden of planning for care on ordinary people may be doomed to fail.
Which? Managing Director of Public Markets, Alex Hayman, said: ‘The broken social care system can not continue to fail older people and their families in delivering high-quality, affordable care when they most need support.
‘The Government must recognise that most people won’t have made extensive plans for their care, so the system must be designed to help people get the support they need at a time of crisis and stress for themselves and their loved ones.’