Elderly care costs ‘con’

Pensioners in the North West face paying over £150,000 for their residential care before they hit the so-called ‘cap’ on care costs, new analysis shows.  The average figure to be funded by pensioners is more than double the £72,000 ‘cap’ which ministers have claimed.

The analysis produced by my Shadow Health Team colleague Liz Kendall MP,  also reveals that seven out of eight elderly people in the region will have died before they reach the ‘cap’.
The ‘cap’ will be based on the standard rate local authorities pay for a bed in a care home in their area, not the actual amount self-funders are charged – which is much higher than the council rate.
In 2016/17 – when the ‘cap’ is due to start – the average council rate for residential care in the North West is estimated to be £485 a week, but the average price of a care home bed will average at around £537 a week, and hundreds of pounds more in many areas. The difference between the council rate and what pensioners actually pay won’t count towards the ‘cap’.
Pensioners in care homes will also have to pay £230 a week for their ‘hotel and accommodation’ costs, which are counted separately from care costs, and which won’t count towards the ‘cap’.
When both these factors are taken into account, it will take around 5 and a half years for elderly people in the region to hit the so-called ‘cap’ – during which time they will have clocked up more than £150,000 for their actual residential care home bill.

I am concerned that the coalition Government is not being straight with the electorate.  They claim that their cost of care will be capped at £72,000, but the shocking truth is that pensioners in the North West face paying more than twice as much before the so-called ‘cap’ kicks in.

The vast majority of care home residents in our region won’t benefit even after spending all that money – seven out of eight will have passed away before they are eligible for any help at all under the Government’s new system.  Older people and their families in Oldham East and Saddleworth deserve better than to be conned in such underhanded way.

David Cameron has repeatedly claimed that no-one will have to pay more than £72,000 to pay for their care, but this simply isn’t the case.  The Government should be straight with elderly people about what they will really have to pay for their care. Families need to be told the facts, so they can properly plan for the future, and not have the Prime Minister attempt to pull the wool over their eyes.

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