In the first instalment of this feature, we considered how the new Social Care Cap will not protect the assets of an aging Middle England, indeed it has been estimated that if your parents have assets of over £118,000 (including the value of their property) they will be liable for care home costs until they reach the £72,000 cap or their assets fall below the £118,000-mark.
BBC analysis has shown that those with assets of between £150,000 and £200,000 face losing between a third and nearly a half of their in care costs.
There has to be another course of action, one which will not see the assets of your parents – and your inheritance – dwindling away and of course there is, however it’s one which for many is not the most obvious.
A full-time carer for one’s parents, living in their home, ready, willing and experienced at providing the level of care required allows the parents to retain their dignity and their independence. The days of considering a residential home as the only choice, and all too often the choice of last resort, have gone. And good riddance too!
But how is this option affordable? Where do you turn to for help in finding the right carer? Vital questions requiring pertinent and viable answers.
For some, there is the option of local authority financing. Unfortunately, there seems to be major differences in the way in which local authorities apply the regulations about assets and financing.
But what about those whose finances and assets take them out of the assistance criteria? How do the growing number of Middle England’s elderly ensure the level of comfort and security they need while minimising the costs.
Let’s look at the relative costs. In London and the Home Counties, the cost of residential care can be up to £1,500 per week, an annual cost £78,000.
Of course, these costs will continue and probably rise with each year a relative stays in residence. So how can the ‘stay at home with live-in care’ option be funded by your parents?
There are several means by which this can be achieved:
- Parents maybe able to fund the cost out of their own resources, from savings, income, pensions or a life insurance payment.
- Then there are options available from specialised insurance companies which can offer either a care provision plan for a one-off payment providing a monthly income.
- Parents can also take out what is effectively a loan against the value of their home, while they continue to live in it.
Either way, your parents dream of being able to stay in their own home while having the security of live-in support can become a reality.
Knowing the relative costs of residential care in London and the Home Counties, how does the cost of employing suitable live-in care staff compare?
Against the substantial costs of residential care, we at The Graham Agency can provide a skilled carer with experience of meeting the needs of the elderly at an average cost of around £670 per week, an annual cost of £34,840. That is a difference of £43,160, per annum compared with an approximate annual residential care cost of £78,000.
These cost differences are huge and residential care eats into estates at an alarming rate, even for those with a sizable estate on which to rely.
But for those involved it is the emotional aspect of retained independence and the comfort and psychological security of remaining in one’s own home that is beyond price.