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Release failing to reach owners’ children

Equity-release advisers admit it will be difficult to target elderly people forced to sell their home to fund care.

Key Retirement Solutions business development director Dean Mirfin says the problem is that when someone is about to go into care, it is his or her children who make the financial arrangements and it is hard for the market to aim at such individuals at it is the homeowners who are normally the recipients of advice.

Equity release is seen as a means to allow people to keep their home while in care by using the equity to pay for treatment but experts say many elderly people are still unaware of its availability.

A report from charity Help the Aged last month suggested that around 70,000 older people sell their homes every year to pay for nursing or residential care, which costs an average of £21,000 a year.

Mirfin believes that nursing homes are often a stumbling block to elderly people using equity release as they want people to stay in the home.

He says: “If you speak to anyone about whether they will or will not need care, people will rather stay in their own home and people do not put two and two together and realise equity release is an option.

“It is a major opportunity for equity-release providers when people are looking at needing care but it is the children and not the person involved often looking at the arrangements so children should know about it but when can you talk to the children?

“If someone is looking to go into anursing home you cannot target the nursing home as they want the business.”

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