As our elderly population increases so does the number of older people who need to sell their homes to pay for residential care homes themselves. The most recent research in the UK states that 70,000 homes are sold each year in order to pay for care homes. Very few people seek professional advice on the matter of probably one of the largest financial commitments they have ever made – which is paying care home fees. Care home fees can be very high and the sooner elderly people address it, the more chance they have of making arrangements at the right time.
Whether you are being funded or paying for your care homes privately, there is a lot of information you must understand so that you know what you are rightfully entitled to in the way of local authority or NHS or welfare benefits. There are also specially designed financial products that can undertake to meet the shortfall in income to cover the cost of care at the outset often requiring just a part of your capital to be utilised to meet care costs releasing the remainder for the eventual inheritance that so many older people wish to leave.
Care homes in England are regulated by The Care Quality Commission and are classified by the types of services they are registered to provide. Details of care homes including the services for which they are registered are available from The Quality Care Commission and from your local authority.You can ask your G.P. to arrange for an assessment of needs to help you and your care team decide what kind of care will be required. If you have been given a diagnosis of dementia, this assessment will recommend the type of care for you. Homes are classified by type of care: one type is nursing and the other is residential. People with dementia might qualify for either type of care.
When choosing a home, it might help to consider the location and how accessible the home is to those who want to visit. Moving into a different environment is disorientating for anyone; for people with dementia, the impact is much more severe so contact with people who are familiar becomes essential.
The quality of care is another key factor. You might find it useful to consider what that might mean beyond basic physical care. Would you want to participate in communal activities? Would you object to someone of the opposite sex or someone much younger performing intimate personal care? Are there any factors that relate to your beliefs and customs that need to be observed? It will be important to spend time at any care home you are considering. What is the quality of interaction between staff and residents? Are residents engaged in meaningful activity?These questions will help you to frame your choices. Regular assessments from your care team will help to ensure that your ongoing needs will be met.
The most important thing is to ask for help when you feel you cannot cope any longer and to talk to someone about it. It might be possible to access more home care that would lighten your load and make it possible to care more easily. You could choose to have some respite care for the person with dementia and then you could return to caring for him or her. You can ask your GP or Social Worker to do a further needs assessment to see if the person with dementia is entitled to extra support.
Carers are also entitled to an assessment of needs to help them in their role as a carer depending upon their circumstances.