2018 Guide to Later Life Care: Complex challenges

Looking after the care needs of your loved ones as they grow older presents a complex, sensitive set of challenges

According to charity Hospice UK, one in four or 25% of people who require end of life care and their families are not getting the support they need – especially those with conditions other than cancer[1].

Later Life Care - Complex Challenges

First step towards getting help and support

A local authority care assessment – or social care assessment – from your local council is a good place to start, particularly if you are confused about a relative’s needs, and is essential if you are hoping that the council will fund any part of their care. It can also be the first step towards getting the help and support needed for everyday life.

The council has a statutory duty to provide this, and it should be carried out by a qualified health professional. The aim of a care needs assessment is to work out how much help is needed. After it is completed, a care plan will provide advice detailing what type of care is appropriate, and they’ll carry out a financial assessment.

This is called a ‘means test’. This will work out if you need to contribute to the cost of care, and whether the local authority will pay for all or some of the care costs.

Financial support from the local authority

It is a common misconception that gifting away a property will mean it cannot be taken into account as an asset for assessing care costs if the time between the gift and the need to go into care is significant. This is not strictly the case. However, a property occupied by a dependent over the age of 60 cannot be counted as an asset for this purpose.

If you have a relative that lives in England or Northern Ireland and they’ve been assessed as needing a care home place and their capital is below £23,250 (or in Scotland £26,500 and Wales £30,000), they should be entitled to financial support from the local authority. In England or Northern Ireland, the proportion of the cost is paid until the capital falls to £14,250, but this is different in Scotland and Wales.

Requiring nursing care or other specific care

Not all types of care home are suitable for all needs. If your relative needs nursing care, for example, they will need a home that offers more support than an ordinary care home. For those requiring nursing care or other specific care, the bill is higher, while some people may wish to choose more expensive care homes for their relatives because they prefer the facilities or the ambience. If you do this, you need to ensure your relative will have sufficient money to stay there for a potentially long period of time, or that your family is able to pay any proportion of the bill that is not being met by the local authority.

When planning for later life care needs, think about:
  • Who (in your family) most needs care and for how long
  • Whether you need a care plan now
  • Whether you should be planning ahead for yourself, a loved one or other relative
  • Whether you have the money to pay for care
  • How long you might need to pay for a care plan
  • Whether home care or a nursing home is required
  • What kinds of things would be required of the help, for example, help with dressing, using the toilet, feeding or mobility
  • Whether you find that your home requires additional features such as a stair lift, an opening and closing bath or a bath chair, and/or home help
How to fund the cost of care provision in later life

We are all likely to live longer and healthier lives than past generations but with the added challenge of how to ensure we have adequate resources to allow us to live the life that we would like in those later years. Understandably, the problem this subject poses is how to fund the cost of care provision in later life, which can be very worrying for many families.

We understand that making plans for your later years – or an elderly parent’s – is a sensitive and emotional process. There is the uncertainty of not knowing whether you will need some form of care in the future and, if so, to what extent. And, of course, you’ll need to know the financial implications.


Helping to understand the process and advising on a range of options

None of us know what our future holds. However, with the right planning, we can be prepared. For your peace of mind and to find out how to manage finances for later life care – whether for yourself or a relative – we can help you understand the process and advise on a range of options. Please Contact Us for more information.

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