Financial advisers are taking a proactive approach to care planning – despite political procrastination on this issue, and a lack of engagement from many consumers.
Research from Just Group found that clients’ future care requirements are high on the agenda for vast majority of financial advisers.
A survey of almost 200 adviser firms found that the issue of long-term care forms part of the planning conversations the majority of advisers have with clients.
Nine out of 10 (89 per cent) advisers said they ask clients if they have preferences about where they would like to receive care – and most (81 per cent) go on to ask about the suitability or adaptability of their current homes for care in later life. Meanwhile seven in 10 advisers (71 per cent) say they ask all clients whether they plan to receive care in their home, while another quarter (27 per cent) ask most clients.
Just Group’s research shows that while many over-45s have strong views on this issue, few have put in place financial plans to meet these needs.
When surveyed, two-thirds (66 per cent) of this age group said they don’t want to go into a residential care home, while 65 per cent would be happy for carers to come into their home. Around half (51 per cent) of respondents said they didn’t want their children to become their care-givers.
Despite these preferences, there is a widespread lack of planning with 76 per cent of those over 45s saying that they have not thought about care, planned for care or spoken to their family about it.
The research did show though that those who had experience of finding a care home for a loved one, with support from an adviser, were nearly four times more likely to subsequently make their own care plans than those who had made arrangements without adviser help.
Just Group, group communications director Stephen Lowe says: “The planned introduction of new care funding rules this autumn has been delayed until after the next General Election and many question whether the reforms will ever see the light of day.
“Announcing policies that are never delivered has a cost. The litany of abandoned policy announcements leaves people having to sift fact from fiction in an already excruciatingly complex process. It’s no wonder our research shows people are delaying making plans, and leaving themselves vulnerable to harm as they are faced with complicated decisions that are often made in a hurry at a point of crisis.
“The one beacon of hope is the work being done by the financial advice community. They are doing a stellar job supporting their clients by encouraging them to explore what they would want if they do need care and working out how this can be funded.
“Adviser-involvement in care cases not only improves the outcomes for the client, but our research shows it often galvanises other family members involved to start preparing for their own potential care needs.
“Improving social care is a difficult problem but should not be insurmountable. At a time when political parties are preparing for the next election, we would urge them to put care policy at the heart of their manifestos and to recognise the positive impact of better information, advice and financial planning on achieving better care outcomes in later life.”
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