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3rd September 2013

Elder care crisis 'claims a million family homes'

Research has estimated that more than a million families have been forced to sell their homes over the last five years to help meet the cost of residential care.

The estimated figure is based on a polling carried by ICM for insurer NFU Mutual into families' experiences and is higher than current UK government estimates.

Charities and pensions experts claim the poll highlights the 'hidden cost' of funding care for our ageing population.

Alison Cook, director of external affairs for the Alzheimer's Society, said: "A person can find themselves paying tens of thousands of pounds a year for their care, just because the disease they have happens to be dementia. It's sadly not surprising to see more than one million families selling their home within five years. These financial worries add an unfair burden to those  living with dementia and their families.

"While the government has started to address these issues, if we are to see a solution, we have to go further than token gestures and ensure that people aren't being financially penalised."

  • The research also concluded that as many as three quarters of people who go into residential care in old age might eventually have to sell their home to pay for it.

And it warns that millions of younger people who are currently relying on an inheritance to fund their own retirement could be facing serious financial problems if they do not make alternative plans urgently.

The research also highlighted how councils have been forced to cut spending on residential care in the last four years despite efforts to shield the sector from the effect of cuts in budgets.

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