A growing number of families across Wearside are helping to look after older relatives. Most people want to remain in their own home as long as possible, but there often comes a time when that's no longer possible.
The government announced a cap on the cost of social care - £75,000 excluding the costs of accommodation and food. This will come into force in 2017. The threshold on assets where people are eligible for state help will also rise from £23,000 to £123,000. This comes out of the Dilnot Report into the future of care funding, but the cap on care is much higher than Andrew Dilnot wanted to see. It will take most people four or more years before they hit the cap. Unfortunately, many people would have passed away before that time as the average length of stay in social care is two years.
None of us can know in advance whether we will need care and the seemingly endless contributions worries older people and their families. I meet too many constituents facing this situation. However, the proposals won't take effect for four years and they won't tackle the immediate care crisis and the current pressures on families, councils and the NHS.