Calls for better at-home state care funding

The joint managing director of Symponia, the trade body for care fee advisers, said “distressing and heart-breaking” reports of poor at-home care provided by the state highlight how little funding and resources are allocated to the elderly.

At a Symponia care funding conference in London last week (CORRECT), Ms Davies said such stories should not deter clients from seeking home care, as it can offer independence and the ability to live with spouses or much-loved pets.

She added that the cost is often comparable to going into a care home if not more economical for couples as home care is not charged per-person.

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She said: “There is even a way that people who are relying on state funding can potentially benefit from using a home care provider who employs its carers; by making sure that they get their care allowance paid directly to them.

“In so doing, they can make their own arrangements with any private provider as long as it is Care Quality Commission-registered and happy to provide the service.”

However, Ms Davies warned that direct payments will not suffice for many, adding: “until local authorities start to cover the true cost of care, and not their deemed levels which can often fall woefully short, this unfair two-tier system will perpetuate.”

Industry reaction

Ros Altman, independent pensions consultant, said: “A care Isa must be introduced because many people will not earmark any of their regular savings for long-term care. The possibility of setting aside a certain amount, 20 per cent for example, from auto-enrolled contributions must also be considered.”