Given the findings, the LGA is calling on government to lead a national campaign to raise the profile and reputation of adult social care.
Unlike the NHS, which is free at the point of need, social care is means tested; what you contribute to the cost of your care depends on the care setting and your assets and savings.
Across the UK, 44 per cent of people in care homes pay the full cost of their care themselves, and more than a quarter (26 per cent) pay the full cost of their homecare.
Yet the poll, by BritainThinks, found that only 15 per cent of adults say they are making plans for how they will pay for care they might need in the future. Half of English adults say they have never thought about it.
Almost half of English adults (48 per cent) say they have little to no understanding of what the term ‘social care’ means, compared with just 13 per cent who say they do. More than two in five (44 per cent) think that social care is provided by the NHS and 28 per cent think that it is free at the point of access.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “This polling raises real concerns over how prepared people are for their own care needs, or the care of their loved ones.
“If we are to truly tackle adult social care, we must aspire to social care having a similar ‘national treasure’ status as the NHS, with similar levels of awareness and understanding about what social care is and why it matters.”