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Tuesday, September 8, 1998 Published at 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK


State 'should pay for old age care'

Most people think the State should fund elderly care

The majority of British people believe the State should pay for care in old age, according to a survey.

An NOP survey of more than 1,700 people for Help the Aged and General Accident Life found that people in all groups, including the Thatcher's children generation, thought the State should pay for domiciliary care and nursing care.

Sixty-five per cent of people of all age groups and 62% of those between 18 and 24 thought people should not have to sell their homes or use personal savings to fund their care when they are old.

Currently, anyone with assets or savings over 16,000, including their house if they live alone, has to pay the full cost of long-term care.

People with between 10,000 and 16,000 in savings have to foot part of the care bill.

[ image: Help the Aged wants the government to rethink elderly care]
Help the Aged wants the government to rethink elderly care
People on high incomes were more likely to believe the State should pay for care than those on lower incomes.

Help the Aged says this shows the government needs to rethink its approach to long-term care.

Mervyn Kohler of Help the Aged said: "The [findings] confirm Help the Aged's view that long-term care needs should be seen like any other health care needs and should be met within a national strategy."

The survey comes just before the Labour party conference and before the Royal Commission on long-term care delivers its recommendations in the new year.

Home care

Other findings show that 69% of people believe the NHS or a local authority should provide nursing home care.

Only 13% of those surveyed thought people should fund their own nursing home care.

Young people were more likely, however, to think old people should pay for home care, such as shopping and cleaning.

Thirty-eight per cent of people under 24 believed the State should pay, compared with 58% of people aged between 35 and 44.

People on high incomes were more likely to believe the State should pay for care than those on lower incomes.


The survey also showed that many people underestimated the cost of long-term and home care.

A quarter of people over 65 thought it would cost less than 25 to get someone in twice a week to help with cooking and cleaning.

The true figure is more than 50, although costs vary according to location.

Thirty-eight per cent of those surveyed thought nursing home care would be less than 300 a week, when it costs between 325 and 800.

"The findings reveal a worrying lack of awareness among the general public of the costs of different forms of care," says Help the Aged.

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