Later Life

Property wealth 'key' to care funding for over-55s

29% of over-55s now plan to use their homes compared with just 19% a year ago.

Rozi Jones
|
27th July 2020
pension, retirement, house, hands
"The vast majority are keen to receive care and support in the comfort of their own home but struggle to know how, or how best, they might meet these costs."

Property wealth is growing in importance for funding care in later life, according to a new report from Key.

The report highlighted a major shift in attitudes to using property wealth to fund care - around a third (29%) of over-55s now plan to use their homes compared with just 19% a year ago.

That is reflected in a similar downturn in confidence in being able to fund care from savings and investments or pension incomes partly driven by historic lows in interest rates and continuing stock market volatility. Just 34% of over-55s believe their savings and investments will help fund care, down from 44% in 2019, while 30% say they will use pension income, down from 40%.

Additionally, over-55s overwhelmingly want to receive care in their own property, with three-quarters (75%) planning to either stay in their current home or move to a more manageable property. Just 4% would prefer to move to a care home.

Key’s research shows a quarter of people either don’t know how they would meet their care costs (15%) or wouldn’t be able to meet the costs (10%). One in 12 (8%) would have to sell any valuables they have to fund their care in 2020 – up three percentage points compared to 2019 (5%).

Key’s report asked councils in England, Wales, and Scotland via FOI what proportion of those who needed long term care, they paid for in full and what proportion received some financial assistance. Data collected suggested that there could be as much as a 10% annual drop in the number of people receiving some form of financial support for care between 2018/17 (568,867) and 2019/20 (512,816). Of the more than 205 bodies that responded, 18% were unable or unwilling to provide the requested data.

Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “When you speak to people, you find that the vast majority are keen to receive care and support in the comfort of their own home but struggle to know how, or how best, they might meet these costs. With the recent economic turmoil, confidence in savings and pension income has fallen while more people are looking to the value tied up in bricks and mortar to finance care. Getting good advice and understanding what resources you have to draw on is important – and making sure you factor these potential costs into your retirement planning is vital.

”At the same time as councils are under pressure, over-55s are waking up to the reality that they may well need to pay for all or some of their care in later life. This has created the perfect storm and it is vital that the Government focuses on setting out clear plans for reaching a cross-party consensus on social care, and consider long-term reform and funding of the care system."

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