With the population of Shropshire’s over-85s set to rocket by nearly 200% in the next 20 years, a leading Telford lawyer has warned the county’s elderly and their families to ensure they understand the hurdles associated with financing long term care.
Fiona Barnes, partner at Telford-based MFG Solicitors said: “Recently the issue of long term care has come under the spotlight for a number of reasons such as health standards, management issues and costs. However, the complicated issue of who actually pays hasn’t been fully addressed – whether it’s the NHS, social services or private funding.
“People go into care homes or hospices for a variety of reasons. It’s not only a stressful time for families, but can be a strain on finances with many forced to sell their homes to meet the annual costs – which a recent poll by over-50s group Saga puts at a staggering £36,000.
“Families who find themselves in this position shouldn’t be scared to challenge the NHS or social service funding assessments. Questioning any authority’s findings will help guarantee all personal appraisals have been correctly carried out and will remove doubt of who pays for what.”
Ms Barnes’ comments follow a recent government survey which has highlighted that Shropshire’s elderly population is growing at twice the national average.
She continued: “In 2007 Shropshire had an over-85 population of 7,000, but the study calculates that by 2031, the county will have over 20,000 in this age bracket – an eye-watering 200% increase. This government study is good news in one respect that people are living longer. However, it will play a pivotal role in worrying more families who are now facing up to the prospect of financing long term care in the future.
“Many across Shropshire are choosing to take legal advice when faced with complicated care issues because failure to handle the complex procedures could see families struggling to cope with soaring costs.”