I agree with Steve Munby (Letters, 26 May) that Polly Toynbee and Theresa May are “wrong to make funding social care a personal, not a shared responsibility”. Toynbee (Opinion, 19 May) gave May “full marks for not burdening the working young yet again”. However, each generation has its own stresses and pressures, and when current pensioners were young they were paying for older people’s free home care services while paying 15% interest on their mortgages.
“Social care” is, in fact, a misnomer. It is actually care for people who, because of long-term health conditions – such as arthritis, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, mental ill health, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, motor neurone disease, dementia etc – need expensive support in order to remain at home. These people, like cancer patients, are likely to be having regular NHS reviews and treatment, and so should not be treated any differently from those with more acute conditions. This is why social care should be regarded as an extension of the NHSand should be paid for by everyone through national insurance or tax.
In her prioritisation of the young, Polly Toynbee fails to take into account that many pensioners, because they have property, are helping young people buy their first property through equity release and/or taking out additional mortgages. It is unclear how uncapped payments for social care would affect these arrangements.
• At 67, I am at risk of needing home care later in life. Only 16% of people over 85 end up in a home, so it would be good to be able to share the risk. Since the average length of stay in a care home is under three years, the average future care home need is less than six months per pensioner.
I would certainly be willing to pay that sort of amount to ensure my future needs. Ideally my payments would be means-adjusted, and could start as social insurance when national insurance finishes on retirement. I would also like to be able to consider paying a lump sum on retirement, or from my estate. Pensioners with a low income and who do not own their home could be exempt.
Rather than complaining about further expense, I would be actively keen on a government that could offer this solution to a worry for all pensioners.