One year on from Dilnot

One year after the Dilnot Commission’s report into the funding of long term care,  an ICM poll reveals that 89% of English adults believe that older and disabled people shouldn’t have to bear all the costs for support with everyday tasks such as eating, washing and dressing, even if they have a small amount of savings.

This represents a wholesale rejection of the current system, in which if you have more than £23,500 in savings and need support with basic tasks like eating, washing, dressing or leaving the house you have to pay the full costs of that care. 

At present, every adult in England has a one in two chance of needing care
costing £20,000 or more in life and a one in ten chance of needing care costing £100,000 or more. Once you move into a residential home the value of your house is included in calculating your savings.

Under the Dilnot proposals- commissioned by the Coalition Government – a suggested £35,000 limit would be placed on the amount of money that an individual would have to pay towards their care.

This survey gives extra weight to the Care and Support Alliance’s call to the Government for urgent reform of the social care system which leaves too many of our most vulnerable members of society without the support they need or terrified of spiralling costs.

A year after the landmark Dilnot report into social care funding, we are still waiting for the Government to publish its long awaited White Paper on Social Care and, equally crucially, plans for how a future system would be funded. The longer they hold off on reform plans, the longer older and disabled people and their families continue to go without the support they need to live decent and dignified lives.

Age UK is calling the Government to urgently deliver robust and effective change to care and support in England. The new system must be based on the principle of fairness. All those who need care and support must receive it; the quality of care must be of a standard that delivers the dignity people deserve; and the fear of incurring catastrophic costs as a result of needing long term care must be ended so that those who have worked hard all their lives do not lose everything.

The problem of care in later life will not go away and it is getting worse. Putting off the solution does not help families in England. Change must happen now.

Find out more about Age UK’s Care in Crisis campaign

The Take Action award: for people who stand up and speak up

At the Care and Support Alliance mass lobby of parliament a couple of months ago, I spent some time briefing Age UK campaigners before they went in to see their MPs. It was lovely to meet so many people who had taken the time and trouble to come to Westminster to make their voices heard.

Some of those I spoke to had done this kind of thing before and were feeling quite confident at getting their points across. For others, it was a new experience. I remember one woman in particular who was very apprehensive at the thought of meeting her high-profile MP. ‘I have to tell you I am really out of my comfort zone on this,’ she said, ‘But I just thought if I didn’t come down to London to tell my MP how important care is, who would?’

I really admired her courage in standing up and speaking out – which is what campaigning is all about. The really good news is when I spoke to her again after she had met her MP, she was a different person, full of confidence. ‘Yes, he really did listen to me,’ she said.

Age UK’s campaigns rely on people like her, who are prepared to take their courage in both hands and stand up and be counted. And we want to celebrate and encourage all campaigners in later life, whatever issue they are campaigning on.

That is why Age UK is supporting the Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) in sponsoring the Take Action award for older campaigners again this year.

SMK was set up in memory of the legendary campaigner Sheila McKechnie, and is the only UK registered charity dedicated to connecting, informing and supporting campaigners. The Campaigner Awards are for people who want to make a difference and want some support in getting results.

Last year’s winner of the Take Action award was Kathleen Carter, an inspiring and determined campaigner from Stockton-on-Tees, who has challenged ‘payday loan’ companies who charge massive interest rates for short term loans.

You can read more about Kathleen’s experience here.

In the meantime, if you know of any campaigners who are aged 60+ and deserve recognition and the support that SMK can offer, please nominate them for this year’s Take Action award.

Care in Crisis – time for action!

 At Age UK we’re getting excited about the Care and Support Alliance mass lobby of Parliament happening tomorrow (6th March).  We’re expecting about 1,000 people to descend upon Parliament to lobby their MPs. They want to tell their MPs know that they care about how the care and support system is failing them, their friends or relatives and to call for change.

The reason we’re lobbying is that social care is in crisis.  The current system has been underfunded for decades, which means that demand for services outstrips the available care from Local Authorities.  Some people face losing their homes and savings because of soaring care bills and many disabled people are unable to get the support they need to live their lives independently and be part of society.

Many families providing care are being pushed to breaking point because of a lack of support.  And because there is not enough to go around services are rationed, charges are high and many people simply go without the care they need to live independently.

We are calling on the Government to make care reform a priority.  In the current economic climate it will be too easy for the Government to shy away from making tough decisions about the future of social care. We need to show MPs how important it is that Government addresses the failings in the current system.

 Take action!

We’d love to see you tomorrow at the lobby itself.  Come to Church House after 2pm to register.

Alternatively if you can’t be there in person, you can take part in our Twobby– the world’s first Twitter lobby!  We’re inviting people to Tweet their MP with a question about social care and showing your support for the campaign.  We’re hoping that we can get the hashtag #twobby trending so that more people than ever get behind the campaign and put pressure on the Government to reform the system.  There’s loads more information here about how you get involved.

Tomorrow is a great opportunity to take action to end the care crisis. Age UK’s vision is of a system where all older people who need it receive high quality social care that enables them to live with dignity and gives them the ability to plan ahead.  We hope that tomorrow will bring us one step closer to making that vision a reality.

Find out about more about the mass lobby and twobby

Read our guide to twitter