Lord Lipsey in a debate on the Care Bill praised West Sussex County Council’s Carewise initiative which helps people through the financial minefield of paying for care.
Carewise provides information and advice about available care and support options, and promotes the benefits of seeking early specialist financial advice on cost effective ways of paying for long-term care.
Norah Fisher of Worthing Access Group said: “This initiative is welcomed by all those in adult care, and Lord Lipsey is to be praised for bringing this matter to the forefront. Care in old age is a major problem for many, and West Sussex has lead the way in promoting a scheme which is easy to understand and easy to reach for most elderly people and their relatives.
“Unfortunately, yet again we are faced with the dilemma of most people not knowing about it. I’m sure if I asked a general number of elderly people and, indeed, their relatives, they wouldn’t know about this initiative. It would take a great deal of stress away from the caring point of view if knowledge of the scheme was more widespread, and would make things much easier in cases of users needing extra care.”
Earlier this year the County Council re-launched the initiative by offering people the choice of a direct referral to one of the panel of Carewise-approved independent Care Fees Specialists.
Its success has now reached the corridors of power.
Speaking in the House of Lords during a debate on the Care Bill, Lord Lipsey, who is respected for his views on health and social care policy, said West Sussex was “performing heroically” in providing information and advice on how to pay for care in later life without running out of money.
Lord Lipsey said: “Many people in West Sussex who have moved out of London to retire have quite a bit of resources but do not have infinite resources.
“If they are not well advised on how to use their resources they will run out of money and fall back on the council and its means-tested benefits to pay for their care. However, if they are properly supported, learn to use their money well and are advised of the products that are available to help them, they will not fall back on the local authority. So this is a case where appropriate advice, properly structured, can save public money, not cost it.”
Peter Catchpole, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “This is high praise indeed and we would urge people in West Sussex who are preparing for later life to examine their options through Carewise.”
Carewise is a not-for-profit partnership between West Sussex County Council, West Sussex Forum, Age UK West Sussex and the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), of which Lord Lipsey is honorary president.
For details, go to the Carewise website.