Affording and paying for care can be very difficult – or actually impossible – because of the unpredictability of future care needs and therefore likely cost. Whilst there is no resolution by the Government regarding Care caps or ceilings for self-funders, suffice to say if your parents have more than £23,250 in assets (and live in England) then they are likely to be paying for their care.
There are some funding options that could mean some or all of your parents care could be funded by the State or the NHS; Attendance Allowance is not means tested and is available to anyone over 65 who has a care need; NHS Continuing Care could potentially fund all someone’s care (at home or in a home) but it is based on the person having a primary health care need and this can be hard to determine.
It is increasingly suggested by charities and organisations in this sector that if you apply and get turned down for funding based on a primary health need then you should consider appealing against the decisions.
None of this is for the faint-hearted – forms to be filled in and assessments to be undertaken; but it could mean the difference between the type of care you want for frail parents with the type of care that they can afford.
Our guidance is to be sure your parents have had a financial assessment by the local authority, even if you know they will have to pay for all their own care, it is useful to be “in the system”. There is most likely a long waiting list for an assessment, and as self-funders you might be “put off” from having an assessment – but no local authority can refuse providing one. This will determine care needs and the funding – whether provided for you or up to you.
Many older people do not want to “take from the state” so are reluctant to either have an assessment or even consider what care options (from support in their home to full-time residential care) are available. No doubt your parents worked long and hard for their retirement – so they for sure deserve to benefit from whatever care they are entitled to under the state.
Funding what care?
Care can be at home or in a residential care home setting depending on the level of need, and the individual circumstances. The majority of older people needing care are able to receive it in their own homes either through a care agency or by hiring a private carer. There is no wrong answer – it’s all based upon the individuals needs and wishes, but you might find our care section helpful to decide what kind of care.
Care home funding
With the cost of a care home ranging from £900 – £1400 per week, it is the more expensive option than hiring a care agency or a live-in carer; until there is some conclusion to the Government debate about how to fund elderly care unfortunately it is impossible to know how much a prolonged stay in a care home over years might cost… but on the subject of cost of care homes – it is well worth negotiating over ££ fees with the provider – or certainly exploring options – there should be a range of room fees available at the very least.
If your parents are funding their own care, then hopefully they have planned ahead and made arrangements as there are ways to protect inheritance and capital whilst also being able to afford care – but please take legal and financial advice. There are specialist financial advisers who if members of the Society of Later Life Advisers are qualified to advise on your options as there are a number of ways of funding care, which include: