Three-quarters of adults support free personal care for older people – survey

More than three-quarters of adults in England would support the introduction of free personal care for older people, a survey suggests.

Some 78% support the proposal, by Independent Age, and 74% say they would help fund it, according to research carried out for the charity.

It estimates that more than 330,000 older people have had to sell their homes to pay for care costs, including help with washing, getting dressed and going to the toilet, since 2000.

Free personal care would “significantly reduce” the lifetime costs for people aged 65 and over, help more people be cared for in their own homes, support carers and reduce pressure on the NHS, the charity believes.

YouGov questioned 2,840 adults online over two days in September.

Further research carried out by YouGov found that more than two thirds (68%) of people aged 18-24 would back the plan.

The charity also raised concerns over deferred payment agreements (DPAs), introduced by the Government in 2015 to ensure people should not have to sell their homes to pay for care.

It said its advice team receives regular inquiries about DPAs, and its own research has shown that seven local authorities have none in place, while three have not accepted any applications.

Morgan Vine, campaigns manager at Independent Age, said: “Our findings show exactly why free personal care is so badly needed.

“Even arranging DPAs – a safety net to prevent people having to sell their homes within their lifetime – is proving to be a postcode lottery and doesn’t address the unacceptable situation where people are still required to spend a catastrophic amount on their care.

“Our Prime Minister has announced his intention to fix the social care system, and it’s crucial that free personal care is part of that solution.

“Free personal care is an affordable option for the country and is popular with people of all generations.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Everyone should have access to high quality and compassionate care.

“We are providing councils with access to an additional £1.5 billion for adult and children’s social care next year as well as protecting their existing grants to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system.

“The Government will set out plans to fix the social care system in due course.”

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