Years of government indecisiveness over social care reforms have made it harder to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, according to the majority of over-45s polled during lockdown by Just Group.
The findings show that 56% of the over-45s believe that delays to funding reforms hampered the coronavirus response, with just 22% saying it made no difference.
And despite the disturbing coverage of the impact of the virus on care homes, only 52% believe that agreeing a social care policy will become a priority for this government.
The finding has been revealed in the Just Group Care Report 2020: Coronavirus, can the catastrophe be a catalyst?
Stephen Lowe, Group Communications Director at Just Group said, ‘Strong party allegiances show up more clearly, however, when people are asked about the likelihood of governments pushing reforms through. For example, Conservative voters make up 90% of those who confident that Boris Johnson will produce a social care policy in this Parliament, while 83% of those who are not confident voted for other parties.’
‘There is little disagreement about the need to modernise the social care system and for the need to share costs across individual and taxpayer. Breaking the policy logjam will require cross party agreement. In the end, one government or another will have to bite the bullet and push through reforms.’
The report also revealed wide ranging confusion among people over the age of 45 on government announcements about care policy, reflecting proposals that have been publicised but later ditched, such as a cap on care costs. People were also perplexed about how to access the right care for a loved one, with four in five (78%) saying the system was complex and hard to navigate, three-quarters (77%) finding the process stressful and nearly nine in 10 (88%) shocked at how expensive care is.
Nearly half (48%) of the over-45s said that the Covid-19 crisis had made it likely that they would try to ensure their care needs were met in their own homes rather than a residential setting, a figure that rises to 64% among those aged 75+. This reflects a rising trend since 2012 for people to say they do not want to go into a care home.
‘Every year we have found about four in five people have not thought about care or spoken to family or friends about it and this remains true even among the over-75s,’ said Stephen Lowe.
‘When asked why, the most common answer given by nearly a quarter (24%) was that the thought of needing care was too depressing. A high number (16%) said they were also waiting for the government to clarify future social care policy.’
‘Later life care has for years been the elephant in the room for families – an issue they have found easier to ignore than address. Politicians are reinforcing this by promising reforms but never delivering.’
‘In the wake of coronavirus, we desperately need our policymakers to reinvigorate the debate and to lead the way towards a system that helps people look ahead with confidence rather than trepidation.’