Self sacrificing seniors risk care cost trap as they sell up to help their children

A Generation of “self-sacrificing seniors” already forced to rely on property values to fund their care face an uncertain future as they release equity to get their children on the housing ladder.

Picture: PA Wire

As politicians cross the country seeking votes, the National Housing Federation has warned that hundreds of thousands of home owners have used their property or savings to help their children pay for a home.

But, the Federation today warns, those same parents will have to chose between paying for their own care as they get older or helping their children buy a house.

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With many care costs set to fall outside of the Government’s new care cap of £72,000 which comes into force next year, some people will find themselves needing well in excess of this figure to pay for their care in older age.

The Federation’s report paints a depressing picture of the health care consequences from a national shortage of affordable housing, and calls on would-be MPs to unite behind a plan to help get people onto the housing ladder without using up family savings.

In this newspaper’s Yorkshire Manifesto the political parties have been urged to commit to review the cap on care charges, which sees the government step in only once the £72,000 limit is reached.

The system is thought to heavily penalise the north. The cost of paying for the six years of care for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease amounts to £100,00 even with Government help.

On average regional wealth, this would be 13 per cent of income in London but double that at 26 per cent in Yorkshire.

Last night Jo Allen, external affairs manager at the National Housing Federation in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Thousands of new homes for older people are needed across Yorkshire and the Humber that offer flexible care and support services at an affordable price.

“We need to face up to the needs of our growing older population in the region and the looming crisis that awaits us if we don’t.

“The housing crisis affects everyone. With house prices averaging nearly seven times the average income in Yorkshire and the Humber, many older people have to choose between setting aside money for possible care costs or helping their children onto the housing ladder, when they should be thinking about enjoying retirement.”

Labour has seized on the report as evidence of the hidden care costs set to hit home owners.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “Under Tory plans, it’s clear too many people in Yorkshire will still have to sell their homes to pay for care.

“David Cameron hasn’t been straight with people - most older people receiving care are likely to pass away before they reach the so-called ‘cap’ on costs and many with modest incomes and assets will not benefit.

“Ministers are ignoring warnings on the current crisis in care – hundreds of thousands have lost social care support and many more face inadequate 15-minute visits.

“People need a fairer deal and protection against catastrophic costs of care at the end of their lives. Labour supports measures to tackle the costs of care and will end the scandal of 15-minute visits.”

Local government minister Kris Hopkins said the Conservative solution to the problem was to build more affordable housing for people of all ages.

He said: “Housing supply is now at its highest level since 2008 and there are now 700,000 more homes in England than in 2009, including 217,000 new affordable homes.

“The Government recently released new guidance which will ensure that councils can meet their housing needs by prioritising brownfield sites, further fortifying the green belt in their area.

“After the previous Labour Government’s failure, we are delivering housing for people of all ages.”