Families ‘Unfairly Stung’ To Plug Care Home Funding Gaps, Says Charity

Age Concern has demanded that next week’s pre-budget report allocates at least an extra £1billion for social care to help plug the yawning gaps in care home funding.

New calculations by the charity show that older people and their families are being ‘unfairly stung’ for thousands of pounds in fees. The gap between what councils pay and the cost of residential care can reach beyond £6‚200 per year in the home counties – around a quarter of the annual salary –  its research has found.

In most regions, local authorities are not paying the market rate for care home places‚ forcing older people and their families to fill a gap of £½billion per year, it says.

Its calls come as Caring Business today hosts its Fair Fees Summit to explore the discrepancy between fees from central and local government, and care home providers.

Gordon Lishman‚ director general of Age Concern England‚ said:

‘It is utterly unacceptable that vulnerable older people whose care is supposed to be funded are being caught short when they try to find a decent care home that meets their needs. It is immoral that people funding their own care are being expected to fund the shortfall.

‘If a relative is chipping in to help pay for a care home place it should be because they feel their family member deserves the best – not because there is a gaping hole in the care budget and local authorities are too strapped for cash to pay the going rate in their area for care homes. Asking a family member to pay up to quarter of a typical salary to help out is not practical in the long term.

‘At least £1 billion pounds of emergency funding is needed right away to patch up the current care and support system. The long promised reforms to the system by the Government cannot come soon enough.’