Older people are failing to seek advice on paying their care home fees and are selling their homes as a result, research suggests.
NHFA, the specialists in long-term care advice and part of the HSBC Group, says 70,000 homes are sold each year to pay for care yet only 3,162 2 applications were made for Care Fee Payment plans last year.
This in turn means that under 5% of those selling their homes to pay for care sought professional longterm care funding advice.
Of the others receiving no professional advice, many will run out of money as their capital is depleted through paying high care home fees.
NHFA believes the reason for this is the lack of awareness that this essential specialist advice is available.
Without it many more older people will fall into the shortfall poverty gap and become a financial burden on their relatives who will be forced to find care home topup fees.
Out of 165,587 registered financial advisers in the UK only around 12,863 have passed the CF8 examination, which allows them to give advice on funding longterm care.
This is less than 1% of the UK advisers. Financial advisers have until October 2006 to pass CF8 if they wish to continue advising on long-term care funding.
Philip Spiers, managing director of NHFA, who account f or around 50% of the Care Plan applications made, says: NHFA, requires this qualification as a prerequisite of being a NHFA Care Fees adviser.
Therefore 100% of our Care Fees advisers have it. Our concern is that with so few advisers taking the exam older people will not receive appropriate advice.
Unless they find organisations like us they could, like so many, end up in the precarious situation of running out of money.
No government can afford to pick up the full longterm care bill and people are always going to want a care home thats more expensive than the Local Authority is prepared to pay for so the issue of using up capital will not go away unless people begin to seek advice.