If you are one of 10.6 million unpaid carers in Britain, you might appreciate some help finding your way around the UK’s complex social care system. That’s why our free Care Concierge Service provides an expert, empathetic and totally confidential service for eligible Legal & General Retail customers.
It provides guidance from experts with decades of experience to help ease the practical and emotional pressure, whether you need help understanding what kind of care is needed or you’re worried about the cost and whether a family home will have to be sold. They can explain the local authority assessment process, NHS funding, state benefits and power of attorney.
And we know there are plenty of families that need our help. It’s estimated that 4.7% of the population in England and Wales provide 20 hours or more of care each week, and behind that statistic are thousands of people struggling with the challenges of old age.
The Care Concierge Service was launched in 2021 and expanded this year, making it available to more of our customers and key charity partners.
It is predominantly a telephone helpline aiming to help people understand, find and fund care. By September, 15,000 people had contacted the service or visited the website during 2023 alone.
That’s perhaps not surprising since from 2010 to 2020, 4.3 million people became unpaid carers each year, or around 12,000 every day. We work to support the NHS, local authorities and charities, which are often swamped with calls. We provide our customers with another option. In addition, each source of information often only covers one aspect of the later life care journey rather than guiding you through the whole process, and this sometimes leaves both elderly people and their carers confused.
We have an ageing population and the number of people who are 85 and above is due to double by 2043. And when we get over 85, we often have health issues and concerns that are going to impact our daily lives and our ability to live safely and well at home.
And it’s not just the older person who is impacted by this. It also has an impact on the people that are closest to them, such as friends, family and neighbours who are providing a bit of extra support but may notice things getting more difficult. They may notice it even before the older person does themselves and there aren’t enough places that they can go to get information on the help available.
Adam adds that up to 95% of people that call the Legal & General service are adult children calling on behalf of their mum or dad or parents-in-law. Some are struggling financially because of the costs associated with being a carer. Carers UK says that a quarter of carers are cutting back on essentials like food because of the pressures they are facing in the cost-of-living crisis.
Many have busy lives of their own and our consultants will do their best to work around their commitments. Some may even have been given access to the Care Concierge Service as a benefit by their employer. Companies are increasingly recognising the impact that caring responsibilities can have on their workers and productivity.
According to Carers UK, around 5% of informal carers who are also working quit every year. We estimate that by providing support to staff, companies could reduce sick leave among workers with carer responsibilities by 38% and those considering quitting work by 17%.
The Care Concierge Service aims to be as easy to use and helpful as possible. The majority of people will be connected to one of the team immediately. If a care consultant isn’t available, you can simply leave a message and someone will call back, usually within the hour.
Leading charities and sector experts have supported the training for our consultants. They are empathetic and strive to be flexible to fit around the commitments of your busy life by, for example, arranging a call during your lunch hour. They’ll even set up a conference call with other family members to ensure everybody is involved.
If you are looking for a care home but don’t know where to start, our consultants can contact the care homes in your area and prepare a report.
We’re playing our part in tackling the UK’s social care challenges. The Care Concierge service has even partnered with national charities, like Independent Age. We’re both experts in later life care, and our partnership means that as many people as possible can access the information and guidance they need.
When people come through to us, they are often at a point of crisis. They may have had to drop everything because, for example, mum has just had a stroke and is in hospital. They’ve got their own family, kids, work and then they have this on top of it all. Having someone that understands what you are going through at that point makes a big difference. Our service is based on knowledge and practical guidance; but that doesn’t stop us being empathetic. We’re not counsellors, but with years of experience we do often understand what it is you are going through, and the stresses and strains associated with this.
Care Concierge is available to all Annuity, Lifetime Mortgage, Workplace Pension and Group Protection customers. Retail Protection customers with a policy starting 20 July 2023 onward can also access the service.