The number of older people needing social care in the UK is predicted to rise, as is the proportion of the population who have to pay for care using their own resources (self-funders).

There is little evidence about the experiences of these people seeking, paying for and managing care. This research will address the gap in evidence about the journeys of those who pay for their own care in later life, and generate resources to help people navigate the options more easily.  The Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) is conducting this qualitative study in an exciting new collaboration with colleagues from the universities of York, Oxford and Huddersfield.

CHASM’s Dr Louise Overton said ‘There is widespread misunderstanding around social care and how it is funded. For instance, people are unsure about where the responsibility for care funding lies; even if people do know they need to pay for care, they typically underestimate the costs and are unsure about where to go for information and advice.

The information and resources generated by this study will serve as an important and valuable mechanism for helping people to reduce the emotional and practical strains of arranging care, and strengthen the ability of professionals in social care and related sectors to offer holistic and appropriate information and advice.’.

So far NIHR’s Research for Patient Benefit programme (RfPB) has funded £2.5 million of new research into social care, bolstering the organisation’s commitment to improving social care through high quality evidence and building capacity for research in this field.

Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said: ‘Social care research has the power to transform people's lives by building our knowledge of which types of care best support our health, happiness and independence. The NIHR's investment in innovation will help create a sustainable social care system for the benefit of everyone - from older people to unpaid carers to those with learning disabilities of any age.

There are some fantastic projects already underway, and I'm looking forward to seeing what brilliant ideas are brought forward in this annual funding call, which will significantly boost social care research in this country.