Ian, 72, from Stevenage, had been looking after wife Sheila, 78, for almost five years after she had a mental breakdown. Sheila finally went into a care home five weeks ago as she needed constant professional care, and Ian has now witnessed our social care system’s failings at first hand. His verdict: “It’s a farce.”
Social care reforms will set a cap of £86,000 on personal care costs, while hitting more than 25 million taxpayers with a new health and social care levy.
This is designed to raise £36 billion for the NHS and care system over the next three years, but Ian’s experience suggests that a total rethink is required.
Sheila has only been in a nursing home for a few weeks but already her lifetime savings are being wiped out by the cost.
Her State Pension and workplace savings give her an income of just £350 a month, yet her nursing home fees are more than three times that sum, totalling £1,176 a week.
Sheila had some savings and received an inheritance of £36,000 a few years ago, but much of that has already gone on fees.
Under current rules, local authorities will only contribute to your care costs once your total assets fall below £23,250 in England, known as the upper capital limit.
They will only cover the full cost of care once your assets fall below £14,250.
The means test takes into account the value of your home, forcing around 20,000 families to sell their properties each year to meet fees.
Since Sheila went into the home, Ian has been waiting to receive clarity from his local authority about what happens next, and ideally something in writing.
“I’ve heard nothing which just adds to the feeling of uncertainty about what support we are going to get.”
Sheila will reach the upper capital limit in just five weeks, and Ian has just contacted social services for a financial assessment. “Right now, I feel like I’m left in a loop.”
Ian, a retired aircraft supplier quality engineer, wants to speak out because many people do not realise the problems that lie in wait.
“At some point in our lives we are all going to confront this system. We don’t realise how bad it is until we come up against it.
He said Boris Johnson’s overhaul will do little to help. “It’s just a sticking plaster.”