The middle classes have to overcome five expensive obstacles when they need to find a place for a loved one in a care home, a report said yesterday.
The warning from the charity Independent Age comes amid growing concerns over how long-term care is funded.
The five ways that middle class families are let down identified by the charity are:
For many, the tiny allowance means they have to rely on families to pay much of the cost of new clothes, hairdressing, books and magazines, dry cleaning, toiletries, dental care and spectacles, and even treats like sweets and chocolates.
Last year a report commissioned by David Cameron from economist Andrew Dilnot recommended that the care home means test threshold should be set at Â£100,000, and no one with less wealth should be made to pay their own fees.
It also said that there should be a cap on the amount that anyone should have to pay for their care, possibly set at Â£50,000.
But the Prime Minister, who is under pressure from charities and campaigners to pour in billions of taxpayersâ€™ money, and from free-market think tanks to do the opposite, has delayed making a decision.
The Independent Age report said that local councils responsible for running the means test and paying for the care of those who pass it are exploiting families and leaving many of them confused over how the system operates.
Its policy director Simon Bottery said: â€˜It is unfair that family members are left to plug that gaps for fees that council should be funding.
â€˜It happens because the care system is terribly complicated and in many cases relatives simply donâ€™t understand the system.
â€˜We understand that councils are themselves struggling to find the money to fund care.
â€˜The situation is further proof of the need for the Government to radically reform care funding, along the lines recommended by the Dilnot Commission
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