The Local Government Association (LGA) has found the majority of people in the UK have not made plans for how they will pay for adult social care when they are older.
In a public poll by BritainThinks, commissioned by the LGA found only 15% of adults were making future plans on paying for care they may need.
The poll also found 50% of a group of 1,741 people said they had never thought about how they would pay for care when they get older.
Approximately 48% said they had ‘little to no understanding’ of what social care meant, compared to 13% of adults who understood the term.
The poll also found that 44% of people believed social care was provided by the NHS and 28% believed social care was free at the point of access.
In response to the poll’s findings, the LGA has called on the government to lead a national campaign to heighten the reputation of adult social care, particularly focusing on improving understanding social care and ensuring people are prepared for potential costs.
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “This polling raises real concerns over how prepared people are for their own care needs, or the care of their loved ones.
“Half of the public polled have little or no understanding of what social care means, while only 15% of people are making plans to pay for their care in later life, with those from poorer social backgrounds half as likely to have a plan in place compared to those in wealthier social circumstances.”
The LGA has stressed the importance of a national campaign to raise awareness of social care.
Cllr Hudspeth continued: “If we are to truly tackle adult social care, we must aspire to social care having a similar ‘national treasure’ status as the NHS, with similar levels of awareness and understanding about what social care is and why it matters.”