Self-funders' preferences for support in navigating community social care

Mark Wilberforce In progress  


Older people who receive social care at home or in the community may have to pay for this themselves if they have a certain level of savings. This is known as “self-funding”. However, self-funders should still get information and help to find, choose and arrange the right care for them. Existing sources of support include local authorities, voluntary organisations, consumer groups, GPs, financial advisers, among others.

Previous research has found that older self-funders and their families often face significant problems, such as:

  • the process of finding and choosing care is often stressful and time-consuming;
  • information is too general;
  • the many different types of social care are not made clear;
  • there is not a one-size-fits-all as some can manage without much assistance, while others want more advice.

It is not known ‘who wants what’ when considering the type of information and guidance needed to help people choose care, so it is unclear what changes to make.


This study is exploring what self-funders most value when seeking, choosing and arranging their social care, and how different groups of self-funders make their decisions. It also aims to identify how to improve support for self-funders in taking social care decisions.


This study involves:

  • a ‘discrete choice experiment’ with a group of people who self-fund their care
  • interviews with a subsample for more detail discussion on their particular preferences
  • a workshop to discuss what must change to improve the experiences of older self-funders
  • development of resources for local authorities and self-funders.


Project website: