Over half the population (58%) of Wales is not making any provision for their old age, new research published today by the Welsh Government suggests.
However, 70% of those surveyed said they were concerned about the social care support they may need in the future.
The survey was commissioned to find out what people in Wales understand about social care and how it is funded, as the Welsh Government considers how it will meet the predicted rise in costs of social care.
The results also highlighted that only 27% of the nation were likely to be saving money for any future social care they may need. Over 7 in 10 (72%) respondents, however, believed that everyone should make provision for their old age when they are young and in work.
Almost 80% were aware that people may have to pay towards social care support in their own homes, while only 9% thought it would be free.
Whilst people may not be making provision, they were concerned about the social care support they may need. Concerns included the cost, the quality and the availability of social care. The research, which saw 1000 people interviewed across Wales, showed that fewer than 3 out of 10 people (27%) felt they knew a great deal or fair amount about how the social care system works in Wales.
The Welsh Government is looking into options for long term funding social care, as demand is set to rise significantly. The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, has commissioned a programme of work on the issue and to advise the Welsh Government on its approach.
The Welsh Government is already helping people to prepare for the future. Wales has the highest capital limit in the UK of £50,000 which enables all care home residents in Wales to keep up to this amount of their savings, investments or other capital without having to use this to pay for their care. This takes away some of the uncertainty people may have about care costs they might face.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, said:
“There can sometimes be an assumption that social care is funded on the same basis as healthcare provided by the NHS. However, this is not the case as local authorities can make a charge for the social care and support they provide or arrange for a person.
“At some point in our life we or our loved ones may need to access social care. The results of this research clearly show that people are thinking about care but may not yet be putting plans in place. We recognise that preparing for care that is not yet needed or known can be difficult. There are limited options available to people to put a plan in place. The work I have commissioned will also look at how we can better support people to prepare for the future.
“Caring for an ageing population is a complex and challenging question, which faces nations across the world. As a government we have prioritised social care and we are committed to developing innovative funding models to support future costs. However it’s important that we start the conversation now and work together on what any future social care model will look like in Wales.”