Over a third of over 75s in Britain have given paying for long term care "no thought whatsoever", reports Mintel

February 20, 2013

Long-term care in old age is a topic which most people would prefer to avoid for as long as possible – especially when it comes to how they’d meet the costs. Indeed, new research from Mintel reveals more than a third (35%) of over-75s admit they have not given the subject of how they would finance possible long term care any thought whatsoever, let alone discussed those needs with their family.

Mintel’s latest research into consumers and planning for long term care highlights just how reticent the nation’s elderly are to discuss their long term plans with family members. Today, just one in five (20%) over-75s have discussed their long-term care needs with family. Ironically, this is less than the proportion of over-75s who say that family will provide the support they need in old age (30%) or the number who believe their family will help pay for their care (26%). In addition, some one in five over-75s (20%) do not expect to need care, while relatively few (20%) are worried about how they are going to afford it.

Looking further ahead, overall, just under one in four (37%) over-45s have given some thought as to how they might pay for long-term care, while one in five (19%) have thought about it a lot. Nevertheless, almost half (45%) of this age group haven’t given it any thought at all.

Toby Clark, Director of Research EMEA at Mintel, said:

“As people live longer, the proportion of older individuals will swell in number, placing even greater pressure on the UK healthcare system and government finances. Even though it is not a pleasant thing to think about, long-term care is not something that should be left until the last moment to deal with. While the topic doesn’t require considerable levels of thought if someone is still decades away from potentially needing care, people should still be encouraged to consider long-term care costs earlier in life.”

“By not discussing long-term care needs with family, people may be doing more harm than good. When an elderly person needs care, it often affects several generations within a family. Indeed the financial and psychological pressures being felt by the so-called ‘sandwich generation’- people who are simultaneously supporting themselves, their elderly parents and their own children- can be enormous.” adds Toby

In terms of funding future care, four in ten (41%) Brits aged 45 and over believe the state should help cover costs beyond a certain limit, but people should make some provision themselves. Three in ten (31%) over 45s say it is unfair that some people should make some provision themselves, while around the same number of over 45s (30%) believe the cost should be entirely covered by the state. Trust is an issue for a quarter (24%) of the same group who don’t trust the state to provide acceptable care for older people. The same number (24%) of over 45s believe people need to take more responsibility for the care they may need in old age, while 15% say younger members should help care for and support their elderly relatives.

Amongst over-45s, three in ten (30%) say the value of their savings and investments (other than a main home) is worth

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