Pensioners don’t need to be forced into selling their home to meet care home costs

Blog posted

10th November 2010

I take exception to the article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph. The hard-hitting headline – 20,000 pensioners forced to sell houses to meet care home costs. I’m not disputing the facts or figures or their source, the House of Commons Library and healthcare analyst Laing & Buisson.

What is slightly annoying is that this article doesn’t expand on the bigger picture.

I would argue that people ‘need’ to move to a care home because their health or well-being no longer allows them to live independently within the setting of their private property. They are not having to ‘abandon their home’ to pay for the care home, as the article states, it is a logical and natural step to take.

I agree the means-testing model isn’t necessarily the fairest for all but it does ensure the most needy are guaranteed support and care – it is these people that shouldn’t be abandoned. Headlines like this are going to become more and more commonplace as our elderly population becomes increasingly top heavy. And the headlines are vital if awareness of provision for this age group is to be taken seriously.

What I would say is that the situation is far from all gloom and doom. Once upon a time, reaching 70 and needing care meant a local authority home or staying put. Nowadays, the private sector has entered the market and there are a growing number of independent, assisted living and residential home options available.

Rather than dreading old age, retirement is something we should be looking forward to. While the headlines forecast a bleak picture, the actual situation isn’t so. Our own experiences at Retirement Villages support just this – rather than declining into old age existence, people are seeing their lives enhanced through a ‘retirement’ lifestyle move.

It’s a positive and meaningful choice. Far from feeling abandoned themselves, or abandoning their family home, they are taking full responsibility for their own future and how they manage their life – and that’s a far cry from the Telegraph headline.

Sarah Burgess
Sales & Marketing Director