British elder caregiving reforms expected

July 8, 2012 at 2:06 AM
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LONDON, July 8 (UPI) -- A plan to cap the amount of money an elderly person in Britain pays for care and caregivers being provided with support is expected this week, officials say.

A White Paper outlining major reforms for care of the disabled and elderly in England and a bill are expected to be published Wednesday after the prime minister and the Cabinet examine the proposals. Nothing is expected to materialize, however, until the next election, The Daily Telegraph reported.

An estimated 20,000 elderly are forced to sell their homes each year to pay for long-term residential care, costing about $40,000 a year.

Currently, the elderly with property or savings valued at about $35,500 or more receive nothing from the state toward the cost of their care.

In addition, family members who care for frail relatives are expected to be given legal rights to support from government councils for the first time, the Telegraph said.

However, how all this should be funded at a time when money is scant has not been determined.

A proposal by economist Andrew Dilnot, who was appointed to recommend reforms last July, involved the elderly paying $54,000 for their care over their lifetime and the government paying the rest.

In the meantime, local officials say they are out of money to care for the elderly in their homes, while the National Health Service says it can't afford to the cost of placing them in nursing homes.

The Dilnot Commission recommended the elderly take out private insurance to cover bills up to the level of the cap, and the state would pay bills above the level.

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