The gross iniquities of late stage capitalism

More than six million people over the age of 60 face having to find up to £620 a week on top of their state pension to cover care costs after a surge in inflation in the sector, an industry report has found.

The average cost of a care home, estimated at between £600 and £800 a week, is about four times the new full state pension of £179.60 a week, according to Age UK, the charity.

This means that those who need to pay for a care home would need to find an additional £400 to £600 every week on top of their state pension to afford it, according to analysis compiled for Tele­graph Money by Canada Life, the pension provider. A third of over-60s said they would have to burn through their cash savings to cover the expense, as well as any private pension they have.

Err, yes? Folks should pay for their own lives and needs from their own resources, no?

Of course, it’s possible that a just and righteous society will proffer aid to those without the resources to meet their needs. Hmm? We have such a system already? The state will pay the fees for those who cannot? Who have exhausted their own resources?

Oh, that’s good then, we’re done here, right?

32 thoughts on “The gross iniquities of late stage capitalism”

  1. As I have said before, National Insurance.

    “In insurance, the insurance policy is a contract between the insurer and the policyholder, which determines the claims which the insurer is legally required to pay”.
    Apart from the excess on your vehicle insurance policy, you don’t cough up for the cost of repairs if you have a prang so why should those who have paid their premiums for 40 – 50 years do it for their care?

    If they are not going to honour their side of the contract I want my contributions back with interest.

  2. Addolff: ’ If they are not going to honour their side of the contract I want my contributions back with interest.’

    This! So much this…

  3. Adolff

    ..alas, the insurance ‘contract’ in place for your health doesn’t include the cost of housing and feeding you. It doesn’t cover it when you’re young, and it doesn’t cover it when you’re old.

    To my mind, it’s a tad bizarre to have insurance for something that is very very likely. It’s very likely that you’ll get old and weak, and probably sick. Just as it’s very probable that you’ll need shelter and food every day. It’s a quotidian cost of being alive, not a rare and expensive event.

    Insurance is surely for those low-probability, high cost events which you need to be able to pay for if by ill chance you are affected. Then insurance, which pools the costs, comes in handy. And because the costs are pooled, your price is low.

    This is absolutely not the case for getting old and weak. It’s pretty much certain. So what you need is a savings scheme.

  4. A third of over-60s said they would have to burn through their cash savings to cover the expense, as well as any private pension they have.

    Ah well, better their’s than mine. If it is any consolation, most people don’t last long when they go into one of these establishments. After all, if you’re in good nick, you wouldn’t be in one.

  5. Why over-60s when it’s really 85+ and only for a year or three? Anyhow it may be that the vaccine will solve all our problems.

  6. “National Insurance” is neither insurance, nor a fund. It is an income tax.

    It operates as a pyramid scheme of which Bernie Madoff would be proud (if I got his name right :))

  7. @ Adolff
    The state pays for the cost of medical/nursing care in a residential/nursing home, the resident only pays the hotel costs.
    So the state *is* fulfilling its side of the contract.

  8. I know the difference between Insurance and Assurance thank you. Insurance indeed covers ‘things that might happen’ whereas Assurance covers things that definitely will.

    So, I may need glasses, I may need dental treatment, I may need a doctors services, I may live long enough to get the state pension, I may need to go into a care home. See, Insurance.

    I will die. See, Assurance.

    Cradle to grave.

    And we provide food and housing costs to those unemployed or otherwise unable to provide for themselves.

    I was forced by law to contribute to this scheme and if i then have to pay to get same as those who cannot or did not, I want my money back.

  9. I’d like to know why the average cost of a care home is so high. £600-800 per week would get you a 4* hotel outside London, but care homes do not offer anything like the same facilities. Is there some form of cartel in place which sets the high fees?

    In the meantime, my role model for retirement is the Major in Fawlty Towers!

  10. Ah, Addolff thinks NI is an insurance premium type payment……you had to find out the truth eventually, better late than never!

  11. “The truth about the National Insurance Fund is that there ain’t no fund.”

    This is conceivably the only intelligent thing ever said by Aneurin Bevan.

  12. Make ’em sell their houses too.
    But if you want to be cared for by people who care about you, and want to pass on some of that family house asset then raise the sort of children who will step up.

  13. Addolff, if you insure your car for twenty years but never have an accident, you don’t get to claim the premiums back. You’ve paid to de-risk, it’s not a savings fund.

    Involuntarily in this case, sure. But you’re arguing NI is insurance when if you want a return you should be arguing the opposite.

    People do insure against death (life insurance, funeral costs) because they are balancing up front costs against uncertainty. Yes, you will die, but when?

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    Sister in law went in to a home and as it was deemed end-of-life care the State paid the full bill. After she started to recover and have a modicum of a life the State decided that the family should pay the hotel bills. Seems fair enough to me they were reasonable wealthy and he’s been on a very good DB pension since he got made redundant during the privatisation of the grid companies.

    I don’t see why their family should get them money whilst we pay her board and lodge.

  15. @ Adolff
    If you are unable to pay for your care home bills, the state will pay for you. So what are you complaining about? That you have been lucky enough not to be stuck in a care home for long enough to run out of money? You are *complaining* about that?

  16. Bongo,

    raise the sort of children who will step up

    It’s not always practical. Children might live too far away, might not have space to accommodate an elderly relative, might have other family commitments (i.e. children of their own). Moving an elderly person into a house full of moody teenagers is almost certainly a bad idea. It’s hardly wise to make life-changing decisions (move house, change/quit job) to support a parent who only has a year or two left to live.

  17. @SamJones

    Yes, this puzzles me too

    Has anyone analysed the social care sector business model?

    Presumably there are economies of scale in budget hotel chains and I assume the care sector is subject to additional interfering bureaucratic rules on health and safety, staffing ratios, staff training etc that increase costs but at the end of the day it’s pretty straightforward

  18. John77. It is not ‘complaining’ to challenge the notion that people who have paid into a fund to cover the costs of their care should be penalised if they have also been lucky (frugal, careful, wise enough enough not to blow it down the betting shop etc.) to have bought a house or have other assets.

    The Beveridge report specifically states that one of the worst elements of the previous system(s) was means testing, and that is what we have.

    Beveridge thought it was wrong then and I think it is wrong now.

  19. I’m 70 years of age and in receipt of what passes for a state pension (£130/wk). Fifteen years ago I spent a couple of days in an NHS hospital where they fixed my broken leg. Aside from the rudimentary education I received at Crap Street Secondary Modern (summarily expelled age 15), this seems to have been the sum total of state largess to date. That said am fortunate in being able to look after myself, and it is reassuring to know that there’s some sort of state safety net should it prove necessary. Whether by design or good planning, members of my family always seems to do the gentlemanly thing and die before we become a burden on someone else.

  20. Sam Jones, Starfish – it doesn’t scale well.

    The Major in FW really only needs a roof over his head, and someone else to do the cooking and cleaning. That’ll be fine, in that a team of cleaners and chefs can clean X rooms and cook Y meals.

    Actual care provision, feeding (not just cooking), the general wiping of arses and bathing, can go from a single carer for X people, to a single carer to one person, and then starts to add additional carers per person as that person gets older and conditions progress.

  21. “I’d like to know why the average cost of a care home is so high. £600-800 per week would get you a 4* hotel outside London”
    Hotel guests are basically self motivating. Give them a bed, give them an opportunity for a meal. That’s what you get for your 600-800. Anything past that & you’ll be running up a tab on your bill So the labour cost is relatively low. Care home inmates may not be self motivating. They not only need feeding but might need being taken down for the meal & encouraged to eat it. They need to be entertained. They need much done for them that hotel guests do for themselves. Labour costs.

  22. Worth thinking about nights. Most cheap hotels in that price range – That is cheap. See what you’d pay for a proper hotel. – have maybe one guy on the desk from 10pm to 6am. Hence coffee machines, mini-bars & a snack dispenser in the lobby. A care home has to be night staffed to cope with a medical emergency, other personal urgencies, fire evacuation…

  23. Seems like the government should positively encourage elderly Brits to move into care homes in Portugal / Greece / Montenegro or similar low-cost locations. However cheap a non-London 4* hotel room might be, it would be a darn sight cheaper in those places – especially in the low season.

    Problem is, they might live longer in such conditions, and end up costing more.

  24. @BiS You forgot the adapted plumbing and furniture that’s generally well-hidden. Facilities for stuff like oxygen bottles ( + the people certified to handle them..) . Medicine/opiate safes. People safes ( senility is a bi**** ).

    A proper care home has a lot of stuff you won’t find in a hotel. And all mandated per Regulations.

  25. @ Adolff
    “I want my money back” *looks* like a complaint. I have never heard that phrase uttered in a non-complaining tone of voice.

  26. @Grikath
    To be fair, they normally are pretty rudimentary in that price range. My father’s was towards the higher end & all that bought him was a room sufficient for a single bed & space to walk to the small wardrobe. Although they’re heavier on space for common areas than equivalent hotels.
    Fitting a hotel out with hotel sized rooms, en-suite etc, to the expected standard is much costlier.

  27. John77, what you ‘look’ at and what ‘you see’ is defined by your prejudices and your agenda.

    If you don’t ‘see’ what I am getting at it’s your problem.

  28. An old golfing partner suffering from dementia has become too much for his wife to handle (mood swings, et al) and the family have consigned him to a suitable establishment with appropriate medical support. Is costing the family £6k/month.

  29. The Tom Sowell question ‘compared to what’ needs to be asked for some of the really bad cases.
    So what’s the cost of regular prison, and what’s the cost of prison for those with acute mental health problems admitted to a secure hospital?
    Dementia and related care where the patient is a threat to the carer must be so expensive in all of its forms.

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