Social care users pay to top up support

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More adults receiving council-funded social care in the East Riding are now forking out their own money to top up their support, new figures reveal.

Charity Age UK has warned that older people are being left to watch in horror as their life savings are swallowed up by a care system “way past its sell-by date”.

In an annual survey of adult social care users for 2018-19, more than a third of respondents in the East Riding (34.2%) said they or their family buy additional care privately, or pay more to the council to top up the care they receive.

This was up by 1% compared to five years ago, when 33.2% said they paid extra.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: “Too many older people and families are already struggling without the care they need, or watching with absolute horror as their lifetime savings disappear to fund sky-high care bills.”

Across England, a record 37.2% of social care users now say they top-up their care – almost half of them people aged 65 and over who receive help in the community, such as home visits.

Ian Hudspeth, from the Local Government Association, said that rising costs and demand meant councils were having to make “incredibly difficult” decisions about people’s care.

He said: “While extra funding for social care next year is helpful, what we need is action and certainty to secure care and support for the long-term.”

Overall, 68.2% of people in East Riding said they were either very or extremely satisfied with the care they received, above the national average of 64.3%.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care recognised there was a “crisis” in social care.

He said: “We know the system is under pressure and we have given local authorities an extra £1.5 billion next year to meet rising demand and stabilise the social care system.

“We are determined to fix the crisis in social care and will set out our proposals in due course.”