The broken care system must be fixed now to prevent older people being left without the right to housing
With social care funding in crisis, it is the duty of every organisation housing older people to ensure a crucial opportunity for change is not missed by the coalition.
An estimated 800,000 older people are being left without basic care - lonely, isolated and at risk. Others face losing their homes and savings because of soaring care bills. Anchor is among more than 60 charities, government advisors and independent organisations urging the prime minister David Cameron to implement urgently-needed reforms.
We welcomed last year’s Dilnot Commission recommendations, including the £35,000 cap on individual contributions for care. Implementing the recommendations now requires political leadership.
While the financial cost may be unpalatable in the current economic climate, ignoring the issue will simply worsen the problem. But the main thrust of the changes proposed by Dilnot [which it estimates will cost £1.7 billion] is not a significant increase in state funding - compared with the National Health Service £106 billion budget it’s a drop in the ocean. It’s about creating a framework which enables people to plan for their future care needs.
Social care is inextricably linked to housing. For people to move out of family homes and into somewhere which better suits their needs they have to know what care costs to expect.
Mr Cameron last week called for a more joined-up approach to health and social care services. Ensuring housing has a role on the emerging health and well-being boards, which will come into force in April 2013, could also help in getting a more holistic approach for our ageing society. But these are baby steps.
Many of the 137,000 people who backed Anchor’s call for a dedicated minister for older people cited social care as a key issue. Action must be taken now to fix this broken system.
Jane Ashcroft is chief executive of Anchor