People unwilling to sacrifice their home for care costs says research

New research from Aegon sheds light on people’s attitudes towards what proved to be a particularly controversial topic at the General Election – how to pay for care.

Predicting whether you’ll personally need social care in old age is very difficult. But only one in five said this was quite or very unlikely. Almost twice as many (38%) said they were quite or very likely to need it. The remaining 41% couldn’t say how likely it was they’d need it.

When it comes to meeting the costs, two thirds support sharing the cost between individuals and the government. Only 26% believe the government should pay all costs, perhaps recognising that this could place an unreasonable burden on future taxpayers as more people need social care in old age.

As part of the deal on funding care costs, 87% believe there should be an overall limit on how much any individual needs to pay before the government contributes.

The Conservative manifesto set out plans to including the value of a person’s home when assessing whether the individual had sufficient assets to be paying towards their care. Aegon’s research found this may prove unpopular with 61% against including the value of the home. Objections were highest among older groups, with almost three quarters (73%) of those above age 65 against.

Encouragingly, Aegon’s research has found that 56% of people would be very or quite interested in using a solution to fund long term care in advance. Surprisingly, the interest was strongest among 18 – 30s (72%), casting doubt over the perception that people leave thinking about funding social care until it’s too late.

When given a range of options regarding how they were likely to make advance provision for social care costs, 43% said they would use their pension. Selling their home or equity release was picked by less than one third (31%), reflecting many people’s reluctance to use their home.

Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon said: “We should celebrate the fact that on average, people in the UK are living longer, but at the same time we need to face up to the growing crisis around how we pay for the increasing number of elderly who’ll need some form of social care. As the government prepares to consult on this controversial but hugely important topic, our research has shown a keen interest across the ages in finding a fair solution.”

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