The new Care Act means we can all apply for support as we get old

The Act is a watershed in the slow transition of social care into a service that thinks first and foremost about keeping people independent. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

Finally we’ve arrived. Seven years after the Law Commission embarked upon a review of what its then chairman called a “hodgepodge” of almost 40 statutes governing the care and support of older and disabled people in England, dating back as far as 1948, the Care Act is taking effect.

To be accurate, 75 of the 80 sections of the act are coming into force. The most contentious bits, implementing a watered-down version of the Dilnot reforms of the funding of long-term care with introduction of the principle of a cap on personal liability, will not apply until this time next year.

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