Public interest in social care funding has dropped, with many savers unaware of how the current rules apply, according to research.
Just Group’s care report 2019, published today (June 11), found that out of 1,000 savers surveyed, which were aged 45+, the number who said they were not interested in the debate about who should pay for care has nearly tripled in the past year, to 17 per cent.
The number of those who were interested in the debate has dropped from about two-thirds to 55 per cent in this year’s research.
The vast majority (88 per cent) admitted they had not thought about care, planned it or spoken to other family members about the issue. This figure dropped to 68 per cent among the over-75s.
The lack of engagement with social care funding could be down to the slow progress of social care reform in government causing frustration among savers, Just Group stated.
The publication of a Green Paper on reforming social care funding was originally expected last summer but has faced several delays, with the government now saying it will be published "in due course".
Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: "For years we found around two-thirds of over-45s expressed interest in the debate but that dropped this year to just over half, while those saying they are not interested has almost trebled to 17 per cent.
"Repeated delays to government proposals appear to be corroding interest in the debate and that could well be further weakening interest in planning for care.
"Last year we called for a ‘national conversation’ about care but without proposals there isn’t much to talk about."
The report found that more than half (51 per cent) of over 45s thought later life social care policy was being neglected by the government because of Brexit negotiations with 30 per cent worried that Brexit will negatively affect the provision and quality of care.
Three quarters of those surveyed were in favour of a social care service that acts as a "safety net" to support those who cannot afford to pay for themselves, with more than half (54 per cent) wanting a cost cap.
Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, said: "Care costs is one of those issues that people only engage with when it is forced upon them, often through the poor health of an elderly relative.
"In addition, few people want to think about their own care needs and care costs in the future.
"We urgently need government proposals that will overcome these barriers to engagement. Tax breaks on money that goes into care insurance, whether from pension pots or equity release could help to create a market for care insurance which doesn’t really exist at present."
While only 2 per cent thought that government paid for care, there is still widespread uncertainty about how the current rules apply, Just Group stated.