Fifteen minutes well spent

Television darling Jamie Oliver is able to cook a delicious meal in just fifteen minutes; fitness gurus tell us that fifteen minutes exercise a day could go a long way towards improving our health; and of course there is Andy Warhol who famously said in 1968 that “in future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.”

In spite of this, fifteen minutes, which is a mere  nine hundred seconds, is not a lot of time to achieve anything very significant, according to the report by Leonard Cheshire Disability into care services in the UK. When carers’ visits are timetabled for just a quarter of an hour, it often forces them to choose between a number of important tasks, resulting in elderly people receiving a poor quality of care. In England, sixty per cent of councils use fifteen minute visits and in Scotland and Wales forty-two per cent of all care visits take between fifteen and thirty minutes.

Care Minister Norman Lamb told the BBC that a fifteen minute visit is “completely inappropriate”, yet with council social care departments being “substantially underfunded”, according to the Local Government Association, it is difficult to see how the situation could improve without a significant change in funding.

An HSBC Global Report (2013) informs us that ten million people in the UK are over sixty-five and the average Briton spends nineteen years in retirement. The average person’s savings pot, however, runs out after seven years, leaving a large proportion of the population dependent on the state to meet all their needs in retirement.

Of course, it is not news that to safeguard their living standards, more people need to save for their later years. But for some it is lack of knowledge about the types of saving and investment available that hold them back. So while the Government continues to work on the Care Bill, would it not also be worth suggesting an educational plan for people of working age to make considered decisions about retirement investments? After all, fifteen minutes a day equates to ninety-one hours a year and an awful lot of useful information could be absorbed in that amount of time. It would be fifteen minutes well spent.