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By Debbie le Quesne

People ‘oblivious’ to cost of care – and we’re doing nothing

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Issues of awareness beset the care sector. We need, like never before, to be aware of client need and choice, we need too to be aware of joined-up thinking in the delivery of care so that we can get the most out of our meager funding allocations . . . and we need the general public to be aware of the services we provide.

I guess it all comes to media exposure, marketing and networking.

Aware the West Midlands Care Association needs to have a high profile, I was interested to stumble on a piece in The Independent online while on holiday.

It addressed the issue of perceptions and awareness from a public perception – and the article, coined from stats from the Strategic Society Centre concluded that in Britain, people are “oblivious” to the cost of adult care and the likelihood of their own need for care in the future.

The think tank’s report is deeply worrying.

The Independent article says: “Nearly half of all respondents to a survey said they did not know the average weekly cost of a place in a residential care home. Of those that did answer, the mean figure suggested was £396.58 – around £140 below the average fee of £531.

“The survey also found that many people underestimate the probability of needing care themselves in the future. Out of 2,271 people asked more than half believed the probability was lower than 40 per cent.

“Yet research suggests that 65-year-old men have a 68 per cent chance of needing care before they die, while women have an 85 per cent chance.”

And it goes on: “Asked what price, on average, they thought their local authorities paid per week for a care-home place, 60.5 per cent said they did not know. The amount suggested by those who provided an estimate was £350.88, when the average amount was £480 per week.”

We have our annual general meeting coming up shortly and on the agenda is the issue of getting publicity about the good work we do. I’m not surprised the public thinking on our care sector is so fogged. So much media exposure is negative and these latest findings underpin the scant knowledge the public really has on issues of care.

Can we change public opinion? I think so, but it will demand some effort on our part. With more and more free social media platforms emerging, it’s incumbent upon us to learn how to use them and to get our messages out there. Have a good weekend.

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