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Election promises provide a false sense of security
22 April 2010
Why it's time we start taking personal responsibilitiy for our care in our retirement years
It was clear in the first televised election debate that all three main parties agree care for our ageing population is a colossal long-term issue. They even accept that finding the solution will require a collective, consensual political approach. But in this competitive pre-election phase, we’re still hearing party-specific promises, such as Labour’s National Care Service and “free personal care” and the Conservative’s “home protection scheme”.
The real risk of these schemes isn’t their questionable economic sustainability and feasibility (which I'd argue is also the case with the Scottish Government’s current policy of free elderly care). Rather that these schemes propagate the old-fashioned, out-dated view that the State is going to look after us in our old age – it just gives us a false sense of security.
Given the volume of increasing demand, it’s likely the government will only be able to provide a basic level of provision and only to the most vulnerable, while the rest of us will need to look after ourselves. We need clarity from our government on exactly what level of support they are going to provide for us and a reminder that it is everyone’s personal responsibility to do the best we can to plan and provide for ourselves and our loved ones in our later years. Only then will we have a clear picture of the rainy day we all need to be saving for.
On the bright side, pushing us all to think about our future selves and where we might end up - sure in the knowledge that this is our own responsibility to manage – should stimulate demand for better levels of provision and more choice. Then those of us who work hard, save hard and plan well will be able to enjoy the very highest levels of care in our sunset years.
What do you think? Let me know at email@example.com.
Lisa set up Ruby Slippers when she discovered how little specialist assistance was available to help her family update their homes in their retirement years. Here, she regularly shares her thoughts and experiences.
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