However, it of course comes with its own challenges. In the later part of their lives, many are living with disabilities, such as dementia or arthritis, or the lasting impacts of a stroke or fall.
And indeed, even those who are physically healthy may suffer with loneliness.
This will result in a huge rise in care needs for a large part of the population. In England, more than one in three people aged 85+ will require some form of care.
What are the greatest challenges that individuals and families face when it comes to care?
The answer to this is three-fold.
The provision of care. There is an existing undersupply in care facilities in the UK and a lack of planning to increase this provision to meet the increasing demand outlined above.
In fact, the provision has reduced over recent years with the number of care-at-home hours falling by 3,000,000 between 2015 and 2018, for example.
Due to the lack of funding, private funders, who make up a substantial proportion of the total number in residential care are having to subsidise state funded spaces. This makes it even more important for people to ensure they are getting care that is right for them.
Lack of information about care. The increasing need for care, combined with the longer amount of time people are spending in care, means that making care arrangements is a more important decision than it once was.
However, while the Care Act has put a duty on local authorities to make information available to ensure people are aware of the options that may be available to them, in practice this information may be limited, or may simply signpost individuals to generic materials that are not tailormade for the particular person or their circumstances.
Similarly, those that search for information online are unlikely to find all the information they need, and there is no guarantee that what they do find is current or accurate.
Cost. Care is expensive and in the last 10 years, prices have grown considerably faster than the Retail Price Index due to the increase in demand and lack of provision.
At Grace, we supply many families with advice across different price brackets and our services are available to many of the UK’s leading financial providers.
How can people deal with these challenges?
The need for care is becoming one of the sad realities of modern living. The real challenge is turning this reality into a positive experience, not something that is bolted onto life in an emergency.
The best way to achieve this is through forward planning and preparation. There are two main areas people should prepare for:
The first is financial preparation. It is important to understand the funding provided by the state when it comes to care.