Finding suitable care for yourself, a relative or a friend might seem like a long way off but for those that have had to do this it can be a lonely and at times an extremely daunting experience.
Most people need some good practical advice and help navigating their way around the ‘system’.
What happens as we get older and needing care isn’t something most of us want to think about and few people get the right kind of advice to help them make the right choices at this time in their life.
Bizarrely we celebrate the fact we are living longer but put our heads in the sand when it comes to the idea we might not be living in the greatest of health, even if we see this with our older relatives and friends.
Planning to fund care isn’t top of most people’s later life lists after travel and spending time with the family.
However, with the numbers of of people in the UK living with dementia (800,000) expected to double over the next 40 years and most of us living well beyond when we expected some good advice can go a long way.
Not everyone gets the help and advice they need and from a suitably qualified specialist Later Life Financial Adviser and it’s important to look for someone who is accredited by the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA).
This is a not for profit organisation that is set up to link older people and their families to get the best possible advice on care funding.
Under current legislation in England anyone with assets above £23,250 will potentially need to fund part of or all of their care. By taking advice you can find out if you need to pay for your care and what your best options are.
Sadly most people only seek advice at a crisis point, for example when an elderly relative or partner has perhaps had a fall or is no longer able to live independently in their own home.
We always encourage clients to plan for all future eventualities as early as they possibly can and to think about the sort of care they want.
Should you sell up?
Can you stay in your own home with the support of carers/family? If you can’t should you sell your home or rent it out?
Most people would prefer to stay at home and with good support from family and carers this is possible. Alternatives can be to move in with family or to move into residential care.
The average cost of a care home in York is £734 per week and in Kensington this can rise to £1,250 per week so you will need some advice on paying for this.
Should you wish to rent your home out this will require some thought as well regarding the rules and regulations of becoming a landlord, tax implications and whether the rent will be enough to cover the overall costs.
If you are paying for care at home an option may be to look at equity release and again only with good accredited advice as to what the implications are with regards to this.
What state benefits are available? can you claim attendance allowance?
Many self-funders are eligible for some non-means tested benefits such as attendance allowance. There is help available to claim this valuable benefit and it depends on your eligibility rather than your finances as to whether you get it.
Fully funded care from the NHS is available for those that are eligible again it is not means tested but the eligibility criteria is high and it tends to be for those needing end of life care.
How long will your money last?
Being aware just how long your money may last if paying for your own care and what your options are is not easy to predict or calculate without advice.
It may be possible to arrange solutions to ensure that care fees can be paid indefinitely without the worry of running out of money.
Immediate Care Plans have been around for a while and are dedicated tax efficient arrangements designed to cover all or part of a someone’s care fees and can bring both some certainty and peace of mind.
Other things to consider
Appoint others to help you with making decisions when you may not be able to.
Arrange for lasting power of attorneys for both financial and health and welfare whilst you still have capacity, it is so important to be able choose the best people to manage your affairs, in case of accident or illness.
Without these arrangements the Court of Protection will appoint those who make decisions for you.