A CAUTIOUS welcome has been given to the government’s plans to place a cap on the cost of care for the elderly.
Tom Wye, the Worthing Borough Council cabinet member for health and well-being, felt accommodation fees for caring for elderly residents across the area was a “major problem” and welcomed the coalition’s introduction of financial assistance.
But he expressed disappointment the original figure advised for a cap of £35,000 (as the most that families would have to pay for family care), has been more than doubled to £75,000. Crucially, this sum will not include financially-draining costs of accommodation.
However, it is hoped the move, which may not be implemented until 2015, will prevent a situation in which some are forced to sell their homes to finance care.
Under the present means-tested system, anyone having assets of more than £23,000 is forced to pay costs beyond that figure, with that threshold now set to be significantly raised.
According to government figures, one in five people could face bills of more than £100,000 each for care at the end of their lives, particularly those suffering dementia.
Mr Wye said: “I can’t say I am surprised the cap has been set at £75,000, as we are in dire straits in terms of being able to find the money to pay for care funding. It’s something that is a real problem.”
Suzanne Millard, chief executive of Guildcare, which operates as a charity providing care across our area, said: “The government’s stated commitment to raising the level of assets people can retain from the present limit of £23,500 to the £123,000 in 2017/18 is clearly good news for anyone who may in the future need to pay for the cost of residential care.
“As a care home provider we will need to carefully consider the full implications of this decision, as a higher limit will mean people will move on to State-funded support sooner than has previously been the case.
“Unfortunately, state funding for care home residents usually only covers around two-thirds of the full cost of care, so this decision will inevitably have an impact on charities such as ours, who are committed to providing quality care homes that are accessible to both private and state-funded customers.”