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Pursuing Profits in Elder Care Puts Us All at Risk

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By Beverley Skeggs

Professor Skeggs

Professor Beverley Skeggs directs the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity Program at the International Inequalities Institute of the  London School of Economics and Political Science


I was upset and angry about my mother’s death.

But I became absolutely furious when I found out how directly elderly deaths are connected to the increased financialization of everyday life and the almost complete absence of care within the structures of the caring system in the UK.

The government has outsourced residential adult care and most provision is privatized. Many care homes are owned by hedge funds that operate on high-risk, high-return principles, expect a 12 percent annual profit, avoid tax payments, and either flip the companies once the profit has been stripped or load the company with debt in order to leverage more debt for other activities.

And it’s not just care homes that have been turned into financial derivatives. Dan Neyland’s research at the University of London details how children at risk have also been turned into an investment proposition.

I began to ask how can we let this happen?

How can our most vulnerable social groups be subject to such brutal profit making? What does it say about our humanity if defenseless and dying people are monetized? How low can we go?

My mum had many disabilities and her caring needs were extensive so she was more costly to care home providers, and hence less profit could be extracted from her. This generated enormous difficulty to find any care home who would take her. A “regular” elderly care home resident was much more profitable.

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This article was originally published on May 9, 2018.