Number of pensioners needing care set to rise by one quarter: Lancet – Telegraph.co.uk

The number of pensioners needing social care is set to increase by one quarter by 2025, a major Lancet study warns.

The research forecasts a 49 per cent rise in cases of dementia within a decade, with increasing numbers of older people living longer with the condition, and with chronic diseases which require care.

The study, published in the Lancet Public Health Journal, warns that the growing burden had “serious implications for a cash strapped and overburdened National Health Service and an under-resourced social care system.”

It follows furious rows about Conservative funding plans for social care, dubbed a “dementia tax” by opponents.

Earlier this week Theresa May was accused of a u-turn over the plans after she announced a cap on costs would be introduced, but councils are concerned about how they will foot the bill when older people are allowed to defer payment until after their death.

Local government experts are also warning councils could be left with big legal bills if they are forced to try and recover money from the families of those who have delayed paying for their care under new rules.

Currently, only those in residential care can defer paying their social care bills but under the manifesto anyone would be able to do this.

Plans set out by Theresa May suggest older people will be able to pay after they die when their property, savings or both will be used to cover costs – leaving them with the last £100,000.

Now, it has emerged that the system could be based around a national “social care bank”.

The scheme would see a Whitehall-backed social care bank set up to issue loans and recover money from families.

Experts have likened it to the student loans scheme which allows young people to borrow money to pay their fees and repay it when they graduate.

But questions remain about whether older people would be forced to pay interest on the loans if the Government runs a central fund.

A Conservative source said ministers are keen to work with local government to lessen the risk of administering the new scheme and added the social care bank would be examined as part of the consultation later this year if Mrs May is elected.

The source also ruled out a regional cap on social care fees which could very depending on where people live and how much property and care costs.

Liam Booth Smith, chief executive of Localis thintank, said the new system will not work unless the Government pools the risk involved in deferring payments for social care by guaranteeing the money centrally.

In the new study, researchers from University College London and Liverpool University said that within ten years, there will be an extra 560,000 people in need of care in England and Wales, taking the total number up to 2.8 million.  The figure is a 25 per cent rise since 2015.

 

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