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Elderly in Dilemma As Care Home Fees Surge in UK

Help the Aged charity in the UK has found that care home fees has increased by over 50 percent in the last five years in the UK//. But in the concurrent period basic state pension has risen by only 21.5 percent.

The charity said that the care home fees is bound to jump by another 25 percent by the end of this month and fears that many elderly people will not be able to cope with such increases. Currently, people who have capital above a certain limit get no help for their care home costs. These limits are £21,000 in England and Northern Ireland, £20,000 in Scotland and £21,500 in Wales. Help the Aged estimates that 40 percent elderly get no help for their costs.

"While the government mulls over the findings of the Wanless Report which highlighted the serious lack of funding for care in this country, the real losers in the meantime are the thousands of older people who are grappling first-hand with this daunting reality now," said Peter Fisher, of Help the Aged's care fees advice service. "For older people, the task of raising the money to meet the cost of their care is therefore becoming increasingly complicated and challenging."

He added that the situation was being compounded by the fact that there are many older people who are living longer. "Thousands of older people each year have no choice but to sell their home to pay for their care. But it's frightening how quickly even the considerable amount of money raised in that way can diminish," he said. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said that urgent reform is needed in the care-home funding system. "In the longer term, a comprehensive overhaul is needed but immediate changes could address the most problematic elements of the current system," said Sir Christopher Kelly, advisor to the Foundation.

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