Public 'failing to plan for future care'

Source : News Letter
Published on 22 November 2011 08:30 AM

More than four out of five people in Northern Ireland have made no provision for their care in the future, it was revealed yesterday.

Research carried out by the University of Ulster and Queen’s University, Belfast also found that one-third of elderly people say their greatest fear is of having to move into a care home because of worries about the kind of treatment they might receive.

Dr Ann Marie Gray, one of the report’s authors, said that growing life expectancy means there will be greater reliance on social care services in future.

“The policy response needs to take account of public opinion and needs to look to the long term,” she said.

“These findings provide a good insight into some of the concerns people have and indeed the strength of feeling on issues such as how care should be funded.”

The findings come after another report - Social Care in Northern Ireland - revealed that some elderly are already facing care home costs of over £500 per week.

Anne O’Reilly, of Age NI, said social care in Northern Ireland is broken and that fundamental reform must now be a priority for the executive.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, who will today call for a Westminster debate on the government’s decision to reduce Winter Fuel Payments, said the reports were alarming.

“The report that older people may not be able to meet costs associated with their care is disturbing, but unfortunately not surprising news,” he said.

“It is also further evidence that the government at Westminster must do more to assist older people through schemes such as the Winter Fuel Payment.

“The costs of care for an ageing population are going to continue to grow and steps must be taken to ensure that people can remain within their own homes wherever possible.”

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