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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 10:29 GMT
Long-term care costs 'to double'
Elderly woman
Social care can be a huge drain on savings
People approaching retirement can expect the cost of residential care in their old age to double in the next 20 years in Britain, research suggests.

Saga, a firm which specializes in services for the over-50s, estimates a four-year stay in a care home will soar from 112,312 to 223,476 by 2028.

Care home fees are continuing to rise well above inflation.

With life expectancy rising, Saga warns many more people need to think about how they would fund their care.

Preparing for the future cost of care is an issue few people want to consider
Andrew Goodsell

Men in non-manual jobs can now expect to live to nearly 80 on average, and women until 83.

Andrew Goodsell, chief executive of Saga, said: "Those faced with funding care now will already know the extent of that financial burden, however preparing for the future cost of care is an issue few people want to consider.

"With the cost of funding care expected to consistently increase above inflation, it's critical that those already paying for care, or those planning for the future ensure they take advice from a fully qualified adviser."

Helping out

Saga based its calculations on care home fees continuing to rise by 3.5% above inflation.

Anyone in England who has assets over 21,500 is liable to pay for their own care, and many elderly people faced with the costs of long term care have been forced to sell their homes to fund it.

In Wales, full self-funding kicks in at 22,000, and Scotland at 20,750.

However, many are still entitled to some state benefits, and Saga said it was concerned that people were not consulting properly qualified financial advisors to find out how they could be helped.

The government is due to publish a Green Paper later this year, examining the future of care and the contributions of the individual against those of the state.

Annie Stevenson, Help the Aged's Senior Policy Advisor for Health and Social Care, said: "This comes as no surprise - Help the Aged have been warning about the consequences of inadequate planning and funding for social care for a long time.

"Introducing a fair and sustainable funding settlement for adult social care is crucial to transforming our ailing care system into one that is personalised, easy to understand and accessible .

"The promised Green Paper, expected later this year, presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for brave and radical reform of the system."

The social care conundrum
01 Feb 08 |  Health

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