Only 12 per cent of people seek professional financial advice before putting a relative into long-term care, says protection provider Partnership.
In a survey of 3,207 people aged 50 and over who had put a loved one into care, it found that 43 per cent do not seek any form of advice on how to fund care, primarily because they do not know where to find it.
Many people seek advice from inappropriate sources. Partnership says almost 70 per cent go to their local authority, where staff are not qualified to provide financial advice, 34 per cent rely on local GPs and nurses, 16 per cent research options on the internet and 13 per cent seek advice from friends.
Chairman Ian Owen says pressure on local authorities to control their costs is forcing more people to fund care privately but many families, are unaware of their entitlements, funding choices and the costs associated with care homes and are seeking advice from inappropriate sources, if at all.
Owen says: “There is an untapped market for advice on long-term care which the financial services industry is failing to address.
“The estimated market for private long-term care is around £3.5bn and growing, yet in 2006 only 3,000 long-term care annuity products were sold.
“This represents a huge, currently unrealised opportunity for IFAs and providers. Moreover, with full-time care in a home costing around £25,000 to £30,000 a year – and even more if nursing care is needed – informed decisions are essential if people are to avoid serious financial problems in the future.”