Two thirds of people in the UK say they have no plans to put any money aside to fund their social care in older age.* Moreover, when faced with a choice of local authority support, paying for a private service or turning to family and friends, two thirds of people are likely to seek help from family or friends, according to major new research launched by three leading national charities.* The results come from a survey conducted for Counsel and Care, Help the Aged and Carers UK by GfK NOP*. The survey also found that well over two thirds of people (70%) think the government is failing to provide adequate support to family members who care for older relatives.

The news comes as Counsel and Care, Help the Aged and Carers UK launch 'Right care Right deal', a high profile campaign calling for a new settlement for social care in England. 'Right care Right deal' outlines the policy changes necessary to create a future where people have the choice and the control to live their lives, their way; supported by a care system which is better funded through a clear, simple and sustainable deal entered in to by the state, community, family and individuals.

Paul Cann, director of policy & external relations at Help the Aged said: 'The 'Right care Right deal' campaign has been launched to garner support and raise awareness of the crucial need for a radical new system of social care in England, with the needs and wishes of the individual at the very heart. The fact that that almost two thirds of people are expecting help or support from their families or friends should act as an urgent alarm call. Reform to the creaking social care system is now vital.

'Social care should be about supporting older people to live a better life, expanding their opportunities, not just managing their needs. The current system is failing and so must be transformed into one that is personalised, easy to understand and accessible - with a fair and sustainable funding settlement.'

Other key findings of the survey include:

- People want a more personalised care system: well over half of respondents to the survey (56%)* would prefer to receive a cash sum direct from their local social services department, enabling them to arrange their own social care;

- Nearly half (48%) of people responding to the survey felt that even finding out any information about social care was confusing. Older people themselves find accessing information about social care difficult, with the 45% of people aged 65 or over admitting they were unclear about how to inform themselves about where and how to get help.

Imelda Redmond, chief executive at Carers UK said: 'That a majority of people said they would be supported or looked after by family and friends is really no surprise. Carers provide most of the support to disabled, elderly and sick relatives. Our present social care system is simply not fit for purpose, it relies heavily on carers without properly recognising or supporting them. This fact was recognised by the public with 70% saying that the government is failing carers. The social care system urgently needs reforming but any reform that fails to understand the critical role that carers play is bound to lead failure.'

Stephen Burke, chief executive at Counsel and Care said: 'The care system is in crisis. The growing care gap means there is a crisis of funding, a crisis of fairness and a crisis of confidence. Older people, their families and carers are baffled by the system and confused about what they are entitled to. We need a simpler, fairer, transparent, consistent and flexible care system that is fit for the future. That requires not just better funding but also good information, advice and advocacy to help everyone get the right care and the right deal.'

Paul Cann concludes: 'Social care has become a distress service, meeting only the needs of the poorest and most debilitated. We need to raise our expectations, and speak the language of aspiration and ambition for later life.'

* The result cited excludes respondents who were already receiving social care.


GfK NOP interviewed 1000 adults by telephone aged 16 plus across the UK across the period of 11-13 January 2008. Weighting was applied to the data to bring it into line with national profiles.

'Right care, Right deal' is the new national campaign launched to build public awareness and support for the need for brave and innovative solutions for the social care system. With the Government indicating that social care is an urgent political priority, and in advance of the expected green paper later in 2008, the campaign combines three of the UK's largest charities working with and for older people and their families and carers, and will urge the government to renew its vision for the future of social care in England.

To show your support for the campaign and receive regular updates on how you can get involved, sign up at rightcare.

Help The Aged, UK

Tag Cloud