Are private care home investments exploiting the UK’s elderly?
Private care home investments are a growing trend in the UK and a topic which evokes an emotional response from almost anyone you ask. While most understand the pressing need for private investment, others see it as simply an exploitation of our elderly to make a ‘quick buck’ – but who is right?
It’s no secret that the UK is ageing. The population is older than it has ever been, with approximately 17.7% of Brits now over the age of 65. This is a positive result of advancements in medical science and is showing no signs of slowing down. According to estimates from the Office for National Statistics, by 2050 approximately one in four people in the UK will be aged over 65.
With increasing numbers of the elderly, demand for healthcare and assisted living care services is dramatically increased. Statistics suggest that 7 in every 1,000 UK residents over the age of 60 are living in care homes and, with the proportion of over 60s forecast to increase to approximately 1 in 3 people by 2086, the already overwhelming demand for healthcare services is set to continue increasing exponentially. This is only worsened by increases in age-related illnesses like dementia, with an 80% increase in demand for dementia-specific care forecast for the years 2010-2030.
What many people do not realise is that, while demand for elderly care and dementia care services has been increasing year on year, public funding has consistently been cut. Between 2005 and 2014 there was an 18% reduction in public spend on social care for the elderly, while the number of over 65s increased significantly and dementia cases skyrocketed.
With social care funding in the UK under such intense pressure, current facilities are falling below government required standards - and there is simply not enough stock to meet the growing demands of our elderly.
Private funding for this sector is therefore vital. These funds are spent on improving the standard of our current care facilities, as well as building new, purpose-built centres that deliver state-of-the art facilities to support those with greater needs in later life.
As such, private healthcare investments actually accelerate the rate of operational improvements and facility developments, enabling those who require care now to benefit from exceptional facilities that meet their demands – all whilst offering the investor a respectable return. Available to both private and local authority funded individuals, the centres offer affordable care solutions rather than overpriced & inaccessible accommodation.
So while demand for elderly care services in the UK continues to grow and public funding continues to fall, it is the privately funded care providers who are stepping up to fill the gap. It is for his reason that private care home investments offer an ethical, sustainable property investment and a secure alternative to a traditional buy-to-let.