At the age of 91 my grandmother, after a number of falls and declining mental health due to the onset of dementia, could no longer look after herself at home. She’s very much lived life to the full having been born in colonial India and living the lifestyle that went with that to serving in the cryptographic office of the Army in Karachi during WWII before being dispossessed by partition and ending up in a terraced house in Birmingham in 1952 shortly before giving birth to a son (my dad) and later on his brother.
She has worked all her adult life and paid her share of taxes and national insurance. However, when the time came for her to be taken into care home the social worker soon talked with us about how her placement was going to be paid for. Her house, it was taken as read, would have to be sold to pay the £500 a week cost of her care. My grandmother worked hard and built up relatively modest assets that she wanted to pass down to people of her choosing and not have it chewed up by care home fees.
People who have to go into care who do not own a home, generally speaking, do not have to pay care costs, unless they hold huge amounts of savings or investments – although these are far easier to dispose of when needed than a house. By and large people in this situation do not need to worry – the state will, rightly, cover the costs of their care.
The government has admitted that the current system of paying for elderly care is ‘unfair’, but that’s about it for now. If you have over £23,250 in assets then you will have to meet the full costs of your care.
At the same time, a housing crisis continues to engulf the UK, hitting young people the hardest. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, rents will continue to rise 15% over the next five years. Changes to tax breaks and the increasing cost of mortgages for buy to…