A government U-turn on the promised cap on care costs could leave the sick and frail homeless and penniless in their final years.
Joyce Turner, who is facing the prospect of spiralling care costs for her dementia suffering mother, has described the Conservative Party’s change of heart as unjust.
During the run-up to the May election, David Cameron promised a cap on residential and home care costs from April next year. But the Prime Minister has now said it cannot happen until 2020, and some social care experts claim it will never happen.
This means that many elderly people needing help at home or around the clock residential care will be forced to spend their life savings and sell their homes to pay for it.
Among them is 92-year-old widow Mary Powell, who moved into Hemel Hempstead’s Mountbatten Lodge Care Home earlier this year after dementia meant she could no longer live at home.
Daughter Joyce, of Berkhamsted, said: “She worked hard all her life, as did my dad. They didn’t have any money to start with but they worked hard to get their own home and make a better life for themselves, their children and grandchildren and now it could end up that they have nothing.”
Joyce’s father served in the Navy during the Second World War, while Mary worked for the fire service.
“They have worked hard for this country,” said Joyce, 67.
“It just feels like we are getting a bit of a raw deal.
“It’s the injustice.
“A lot of people have worked hard and they thought if they bought their house they would have property and something they could leave to their children and grandchildren.
“Of course, if they are spending all of that money on care they’re obviously not going to be able to do that.”
Under Tory proposals care costs were due to be limited to £72,000 for the over-65s and younger adults with disabilities.
The changes would have also provided a more generous system of state help with the upper threshold for means tested support being increased from £23,250 to £118,000.
In a factsheet for the Care Bill, the Department for Health said it would put an end to the ‘unfairness and fear caused by unlimited care costs’ and would mean that people ‘should not have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for their care home costs’.
But the unfilled promise has made Joyce, who moved to Berkhamsted’s Castle retirement village 18 months ago, reconsider her own financial position.
“I said to myself, perhaps I should give my property to my children so that I don’t have anything,” she said.
Although the mother-of-two said she understands that the government is facing financial pressures to cope with an ageing population, she said: “My parents could have just spent all of their money so that they didn’t have anything and then the government would have to care for them.”
Joyce and her own daughter Karen Becher believe that everyone should receive the same care, regardless of savings or property.
The family are backing a petition, which calls on the government to fulfil their pledge, which can be signed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104992