Care homeThe public may be encouraged to buy properties to cover future care home costs, according to a leaked report from the Department of Health.


Initiatives

Government ministers have set up a working party to recommend ways to 'nudge' the public into preparing for the escalating costs of social care in their old age. Initiatives include launching a national campaign to highlight the importance of pension schemes, or investing in a property to pay for future care needs.

According to reports in The Daily Telegraph, the working party is proposing to double the £35,000 cap on the amount an elderly or disabled person would pay over their lifetime.

However Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said: "It is wrong to say we plan to force elderly people to pay £60,000 for care. We are continuing to look at the whole system, which is outdated, unfair and in urgent need of reform, and will set out our plans in spring in the White Paper."

Alternatives

Other recommendations include the government and the financial services sector working closer together to produce more financial products designed to cover long-term social care - such as equity release schemes.

Under the present system, pensioners who hold over £23,250 in assets are not entitled to state help to cover social care costs. Last month charities and social care experts voiced their concerns over the paucity of decent care provision for over 800,000 people in the UK.

The reputation of the social care sector has been rocked in the past 12 months with the collapse of private equity backed Southern Cross and the record-breaking £10.5m fine from the FSA against HSBC's now defunct care fee adviser, Nursing Home Fees Agency (NHFA).