Britain is heading for a 'crisis' in long term care (LTC) as the subject becomes an increasingly important issue over the next five years, Scottish Widows fears.
The insurer issued a stark warning that it would take "four or five years" for the problem to become big enough and attract enough media attention to force political action.
Speaking at the launch of the Scottish Widows Retirement Report, chief executive Toby Strauss said: "I think long-term care is going to become a bigger and bigger issue - I think it is an issue for four or five years' time, rather than now.
"Now there's going to be unfortunately a bit of a build-up of people not having enough money, press coverage of that and so on, until there'll be a bit of a political momentum to do something about it.
"We are going to end in this crisis around long-term care and lack of funding for it and some inequalities; people who haven't saved and are being funded by the state, people who've saved a bit and have to pay for it - if that isn't going to get ironed out it will become very politically charged.
"It may be one of these topics like auto-enrolment where a consensus can be got to across the political parties because it's very hard for just one party to drive this through."
Strauss concluded by suggesting that having a fair and equal nationwide system of funding for long-term care was crucial to solving the problem.
"Equity release will have to be part of that," he said.
"But having an equal basis for this equity release from the home anywhere in the country is very important. It varies hugely by local authority at the moment the degree to which the local authority will fund money to cover long term care.
"I think that whole area of how long-term care gets funded, that its fair and that money can be released cost effectively from people's housing to help pay for it is important," he added.
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