Adult social care along with the NHS turned 70 in July. With the benefit of hindsight, it is possible to see that many of the challenges we face today over the long-term funding of the service were effectively established with its launch. From the moment when ‘health care’ became a free service and social care chargeable barriers between these activities were effectively established.
In 1948 the average life expectancy for a man was just 66 years, bearing in mind retirement at that time was 65, the long-term funding of social care could hardly have seemed pressing. In the intervening years average life expectancy has vastly extended so that most people even with later formal retirement will expect many years of post-retirement living.
On the one hand It seems particularly ironic that in the year of its 70th birthday a government has again delayed work on how social care is to be funded into the future, but on the other it is actually entirely in line with how all previous governments have approached this issue. Deciding on how a society is to fund its social care appears to be just too difficult for the baby boomer generation and will probably be down to millennials to make the harder decisions that will be needed.