How will the government meet the needs of an ageing population?by Peter Kellner / January 21, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in February 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Scroll to the bottom to see the data
As a public policy challenge, social care is one of the most fraught facing the government. As we live longer, more of us will need it. But how should we pay for it? Should the state raise taxes to help everyone—or keep taxes down and insist that people pay for as much of their own social care as possible?
However, it is no less awkward as a personal prospect for people who have not yet retired, as they contemplate the perils of what to do if they can no longer live independently. YouGov’s latest survey for Prospect finds that our views are informed by a remarkable chasm between two sentiments: the first is that today’s over 70s are generally regarded as comfortably off by their own children; the second is that many of those same children fear that they, themselves, will fall off a financial cliff should they need help in their later years.
This fear may explain why, along with recent horror stories in the press, so few of us fancy the idea of ending up in a care home. Only 1 per cent of us say this is what we want if we can no longer look after ourselves. Put bluntly, many of us are petrified that we could end up both broke and badly treated.
According to the Office for National Statistics, just under 300,000 people over 65 live in a care home. That is 3 per cent of this age group. Our survey’s figures are consistent with this. We polled 1,199 people under 60. Just under half of them have a parent over 70. Four per cent of these have a parent in a care home.