As the government freezes means-testing thresholds for a 14th consecutive year, more people than ever before face self-funding their own adult social care.

Those with assets worth more than £23,250 have had to fully fund their care since 2010, despite average household wealth in Great Britain increasing by 50% between 2010 and 2020.

Reforms to social care charging have been delayed by the government, reforms which the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has estimated would make an additional 50,000 people each year eligible for state funding towards their care costs.

Due to come into effect in October 2023, the reforms have now been delayed until October 2025. Although doubts still remain as to whether they will actually go ahead. For implementation to happen as planned in October 2025, the DHSC would have had to start preparing councils in 2023. Not only did this not happen, but the programme board responsible for the reform was actually disbanded.

And with a potential new government coming into play at the start of 2025, the whole process is surrounded by question marks, none of which are helping those who are struggling with the costs of care in the meantime.

And it’s not just the cost of care that’s the issue. It’s the resource and availability of carers to meet the nation’s needs.

The winter months are a particularly concerning time, with increases in cardiac, respiratory and mobility related illnesses, leading to extra pressure on the breadth of services across health and social care. Community services and home care providers are inundated to meet the growing needs of people using their services.

Many care workers commendably continue their care work during their own time, going above and beyond to deliver home-cooked food, make unscheduled visits, and accompany patients to their personal appointments.

But while their kindness is appreciated by those they are caring for, it can often lead to physical and mental health-related issues for the carers themselves, eventually resulting in the loss of these great carers, leaving their vocation to pursue another career choice for health reasons of their own.

Carers should not feel like they have to go to such lengths to do their jobs well. And to retain the great carers we have within the system, it needs to be clear where their roles and responsibilities start and end, ensuring they have the energy and capacity to deliver best practice levels of care.