In 2018, Independent Age called for the introduction of free personal care with the publication of our report ‘A taxing question: how to pay for free personal care’. We believe that free personal care is a fairer, more transparent system that is affordable, and would benefit far more older people than the current system does.

One of the benefits of introducing free personal care would be its very positive effect on catastrophic lifetime costs experienced by older people.

This report focuses on the significant benefits of free personal care, namely, how it can eliminate catastrophic costs for all older people receiving care. We highlight how various proposals to cap the costs of care would leave the majority of older people at risk of catastrophic costs, while costing not much less than free personal care.

We also outline three steps for the Government to ensure that no older person in care suffers catastrophic costs:

1. Introduce free personal care for all older people who need it.
2. Define catastrophic costs (care costs and hotel costs) as 50% of an individual’s wealth.
3. Introduce a safeguard to protect individuals from catastrophic costs.