Chief Executive Officer, Legal and General Retail Retirement
The ageing population is not other people. It’s every one of us, from teenagers to centenarians. It’s the legacy of the twentieth century’s drive to improve the lives (and life expectancies) of everyone. Two generations ago the British people chose to rid themselves of the fear that came with being sick. A Doctor’s visit before the NHS could cost a big chunk of a weekly wage. Now, as we see the first generation of centenarians on the horizon, we need to combat the fear of not knowing how to pay for care or how to get care.
Five million people aged over 80
2020’s challenges are different to those of 70 years ago but our determination to overcome them is not. The ageing society is one of the great achievements of the last hundred years, but there is work to be done to build a long-term care system that by 2036 will service a country where more than five million people will be over 80.
Last year, fewer than half of the people who asked for care support got all that they needed and King’s Fund research shows that only 26% of people are satisfied with social care.
We need to combat the fear of not knowing how to pay for care or how to get care.
Most care happens when you live at home
Research shows that older people want to stay in their own home for as long as possible, but the care system isn’t helping: the system is difficult to understand; it is hard to match need with what is available locally, and the funding process is confusing. For example, many of us imagine that long-term care is all about finding residential care. In fact, only about three per cent of over 65s live in residential and nursing care, most peoples’ care needs are met while they continue to live at home.
New technology is already helping
New technology, such as the online care comparison and matching site, Care Sourcer, is helping families to understand their options and very quickly find local care services.
As well as Care Sourcer, the Elderly Accommodation Counsel HOOP (Housing Options for Older People) platform helps people figure out whether modifying their existing home might be more efficient and suitable to their needs than moving.
Playing our part
Legal & General began its work in 1836, so we are hard-wired to think about our society and the economy over the long-term. Today’s generational challenge is to support our society as it ages and that means a national effort to create a great system of long-term care – we want to play our part in delivering it.