Money and legal issues are always difficult subjects to talk about, but if your parents’ health starts to deteriorate, you need to think about how to protect them and their situation.
Firstly, let’s consider their finances – especially as they will probably need help with care going forward.
If your parents have been diagnosed with dementia, there will come a point when they will need professional care and support at home to help them continue living at home. Friends and family who care for them may also need support to carry out this role. Financing this support can be a big worry and finding your way around the system can be difficult.
Some people with dementia and their carers are entitled to have their needs for care and support met by the local authority, free of charge or at a reduced cost. They must meet certain criteria to be eligible. Anyone wishing to get care and support paid for by the local authority must have a care needs assessment (for the person with dementia), or a carer’s assessment (for the carer).
Once assessed you can arrange the appropriate care needed. This care may change over time. It’s important to carry out the needs assessment as even if they are not eligible currently for financial support, as their needs change they may need more expensive help late, to which they are entitled.
Secondly, related to this is the need for Power of Attorney so that if needs be, you can take charge of their treatment and any other decisions that need to be made on their behalf. A Power of Attorney needs to be made ahead of time when they are capable of making decisions. There are different types of power of attorney which are explained in our Money/Legal section in more detail. You can choose the most appropriate type of Power of Attorney to your situation in conjunction with expert advice.
Whatever help you need make sure you get good impartial advice the Which? Guide to Elderly Care provides comprehensive information about all aspects of care and growing older.