Over-55s don't want to pay for long-term care

 Seven out of 10 over-55s don't believe they should pay for care in retirement, according to research carried out by insurer Aviva.


Currently, the state offers no help with care costs to individuals with assets in excess of £23,250, which forces many pensioners to sell their homes to pay nursing home fees. The recent report by the Dilnot commission recommended raising the threshold to £100,000, with a lifetime cap on care fees of £35,000.


But even these proposals don't go far enough, according to Aviva's Real Retirement survey. Among those surveyed who felt they should make a contribution, the figure they thought would be appropriate averaged just £3,600 for a lifetime of care. In reality, typical care costs for just a year are about £35,000.


However, Aviva found that while most people do not want to pay for care, the majority concede it is unlikely the state will be able to pick up the bill.


When pressed to say who should pay, 51% said the "better off" should be required to contribute more, while others said the contribution should be based on an individual's lifetime income. More than half (53%) said there should be a cap on the total amount to be paid.


The potential cost of care is a significant worry among the elderly, according to the survey, which found that 12% of the over-55s are "terrified" of the potential bill. Only 2% said they had plans in place to finance care in their retirement.


At the Liberal Democrat conference this week, a motion was passed toput pressure on the government to implement the Dilnot proposals amid fears that ministers have kicked the report into the long grass.


At the Conservative conference in early October, Age UK will be hosting fringe events with the Care and Support Alliance to discuss how to move forward the report's recommendations.


But the Aviva survey found that the more immediately pressing concern among pensioners is battling rising inflation and falling incomes.


Researchers found that the 75-plus group have been worst hit by falling interest on savings and the rising price of gas, electricity, rent and food. The average monthly income among over-75s fell below £1,000 in September for the first time since the project began tracking pensioner incomes two years ago.

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