Later-life and financial wellbeing

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More than one-million over-60’s are rethinking later life plans

With people living longer lives and retirement now lasting up to several decades, the reality is that the majority of us will have to pay for later life care at some stage – whether that be for ourselves or loved ones.

When there is no provision for this, it can have a potentially catastrophic impact on someone’s later life and wellbeing.

About our futures

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us are thinking about our futures. Not only has it made us consider how we want to spend the rest of our days, but also who we want to be with and where we want to be.

So it isn’t surprising that some over-60s are starting to rethink their later life care plans, whether that be their own choice or influence from family members. However, many people may still not have considered how they will fund care in later life.

The growing concerns from family members surrounding the pandemic has driven some over-60s to consider options beyond care homes, such as downsizing or moving into assisted living.

Rethinking care plans

Research reveals that more than one million over-60s who were originally planning on going into care homes are now rethinking their care plans in later life as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic[1].

This shift could be driven by growing concerns from their children. Nearly a fifth (19%) of Britons, who would have previously been open to care homes as an option for their family members before the crisis hit, now wouldn’t consider it, the research highlights.

Options to consider

Instead of moving into care homes, some over-60s are primarily looking either to move into assisted living (19%) or smaller and more manageable properties (19%). Moving in with family members was also a popular option, with nearly one in ten (9%) looking to move into a spare room, and 6% looking to move into a granny annexe.

For those looking to move into an annexe or pay for home improvements, more than two-thirds (67%) think they would need to alter their home or their child’s home in some way.

The most popular home improvements include:

Making modifications to the bathroom, such as adding grab bars and a shower seat (34%)
Installing an emergency alarm (27%)
Installing a chair lift (22%)
Buying new furniture, such as a bed with rails (22%)
Installing mobility features like ramps (19%)

Growing need for care in later life

But, despite the growing need for care in later life and the average cost estimated at between £600 to 800 per week[2], more than half (55%) of over-60 year olds still haven’t considered or don’t know how they will fund it.

For those who have considered it, a fifth (21%) expect to use their State Pension of just £185.15 a week (£9,628 a year), 15% expect the government to pay for it, and a further 15% expect to use their cash savings.

It is important to remember that there is no one ‘right’ way to approach later life. What matters most is that you are happy and comfortable with your choices.

If you are over 60 and thinking about your plans for later life, here are some things you may wish to consider:

What is your current financial situation? Do you have enough saved up to support yourself in retirement?
Do you have any health concerns that could impact your ability to live independently in the future?
Do you have a strong network of family and friends who can support you as you age?
What kind of lifestyle do you want to maintain in retirement? Are you hoping to travel or pursue new hobbies?
What kind of living arrangement would best suit your needs? Would you prefer to stay in your own home or downsize to a smaller space?

Opportunity to think

Making plans for later life can be daunting, but it is also an opportunity to think about what you want out of life and what would make you happy. As we get older, we may require help whether this be in the form of family members at home or a residential setting providing domiciliary care.

Change can be difficult but planning for the future can make things much easier. Take your time to explore your options and talk to your loved ones about your plans. With the right planning, you can ensure that your later years are just as fulfilling as the rest of your life.

Source data:
[1] Research among 2,000 UK adults, fieldwork 12–15 June 2020, conducted by Opinium Research.
[2] Age UK – https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/care/paying-for-care/paying-for-a-care-home/

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