Letter: Legacies at risk: the cost of care for the elderly and children's duty to their parents

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Sir: The Family Policy Studies Centre research findings show that young people may find their legacies depleted by the cost of caring for elderly parents and may place older people in a dilemma over depriving children of their inheritance. The fact is that Britain faces an enormous challenge in care provision for frail elderly people.

Older home-owners needing care are having to sell houses at lower prices in the present property slump, so the capital realised buys even less residential care. As older people can now expect to live into their nineties, their 'children' are probably in their sixties and pensioners themselves.

Within 10 years, it is estimated that another 100,000 residential places will be needed. Despite the assurances of Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health, that community care finance will be partially ring-fenced in the early years, this charity's concern is that these funds will be woefully insufficient.

The Government really must take a lead to sort out long-term care for the increasing number of frail elderly people and their families with dwindling capital resources. Unless it does, the nation will be faced with a serious situation where elderly frail people simply have nowhere to go, and no means of funding. Sufferers will not be young people with no legacies, but the elderly, their carers and the family as a whole.

Yours sincerely,


Chief Executive

The Abbeyfield Society

Potters Bar, Hertfordshire