An innovative insurance product has been launched to help older people continue to live independently in their own homes.
National Friendly’s Assisted Living Insurance scheme - which it claims is an industry first - provides funding that can be used for domiciliary care services, assistive devices and respite care, and also comes with a care advice benefit.
Policyholders can choose between two initial levels of cover - £20,000 or £30,000 - which increase by 2 per cent each year to help offset the effects of inflation.
According to Age UK, almost 1.2 million older people do not receive the care and support they need with essential daily activities such as eating, dressing and bathing.
Designed to support these individuals, the policy’s funding can be used for care services, equipment such as stair lifts, home modifications, short-term respite care and telephone access to care advisers.
When setting up the policy, policyholders can also choose when their claims start to be paid, which can either be six or 13 weeks from when the policyholder qualifies for the benefits.
Wayne Carter, head of sales and marketing at National Friendly, said: “Maintaining our independence in old age is a key concern for many of us.
"Certain activities we take for granted such as walking up the stairs can become a struggle in older age, yet the cost of adapting your home or having care in place to support you can be prohibitive.
“At National Friendly, we are delighted to have launched an industry-first product that aims to support people in later life, so that they can continue to live independently in their own home.”
Dan Clayden, director at Devon-based Clayden Associates, said: “Clearly, it is quite an interesting offering to address a part of the market that the protection industry has overlooked for quite some time, and hopefully it will lead to some other providers following suit, because it is always nice to have competition.
“This is an area that governments are looking at at the moment, and I suppose the thing to consider - and this is why people should always seek advice – is that it may well be that taking out one of these policies may impact your means-tested or other benefits you are entitled to.”
Ahead of the general election, the Conservative party manifesto included plans for the threshold for free social care to increase from £23,250 to £100,000.
On top of this, the Conservatives planned for the value of a property to be included in the calculation for people who need care in their own homes.
Stephen Lowe, director at specialist financial services company Just, warned this would lead to a ‘catastrophic loss of assets’ and the proposal delivered a massive blow to prime minister Theresa May's plans to get an outright majority.
The general election instead resulted in a hung parliament and Mrs May having to appeal to the Democratic Unionist Party for their support.