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Survey published as new FirstStop advice service is launched

As the Government works on plans to reform the social care system, a new survey reveals that two thirds of adults over 35 are concerned about the future cost of care and accommodation facing them or an older member of their family.

The survey has been timed to coincide with the launch of FirstStop, a new service for older people, their families and carers seeking advice on care, housing and finance.

The care funding system, which varies across the UK, is notoriously complicated and constantly changing. As a result, many older people and their families are struggling to navigate a maze of information. Of those questioned in the survey who had recently been involved in a decision about care and accommodation:

  • 61 per cent said they felt worried that they’d made the wrong decision about care
  • 44 per cent said they found it difficult to find sources of independent help and advice
  • Almost three-quarters said the process would have been much easier if they could have accessed information from one source.

The cost of care could be the biggest financial burden many people will ever face. Residential care home fees have increased by 51.5 per cent in the last five years and costs are predicted to double in the next 20 years.

The survey was conducted by three of the UK’s leading charities - Help the Aged, Counsel and Care, and the Elderly Accommodation Counsel – as well as NHFA (one of the UK’s leading specialist, independent financial advisors) for the launch of their collaborative advice service FirstStop.

FirstStop is a single gateway to free, independent information and advice about all aspects of care, housing and finance for older people. It will equip older people, their families and carers to understand their rights and options and make informed decisions about care, housing and finance.

FirstStop aims:

  • to become the UK’s leading source of independent, clear and direct information and advice on any kind of care for older people
  • to be a sustainable service for the long term, supported equally by charitable funders, Government and commercial organisations
  • to provide an accessible service to all older people, their families and carers.

The FirstStop Advice Line opened in July 2008, and is staffed by trained advisors in each of the four partner organisations.

Counsel and Care for the Elderly is a national charity, which gives advice and information to older people, their relatives and carers on community care, care homes and housing with care.

Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) is a national charity specialising in providing information and advice on Housing and Care Choices and issues for older people throughout the UK.

Help the Aged is an international charity  whose mission is to secure and uphold the rights of disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas. HtA operates Seniorline, a telephone advice and information service available throughout the UK for older people, their relatives and friends.

The Nursing Home Fees Agency, NHFA Limited, is a member of the HSBC Group. NFHA’s care fees advisory service provides financial and care advice on the many complex financial and legislative issues older people or their families face when considering paying for care. Advice is given to all regardless of means through a telephone helpline, by post and over the internet.

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Survey published as new FirstStop advice service is launched
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