We understand that the decision to place a loved one in care can be a worrying time for all involved. To help ease some of the worries it’s important to know you or your loved one will be looked after.
We understand the concerns later life bring when moving into care, so have compiled our top five tips for making this time as worry free as possible.
1. Consider Your Financial Position
It’s never too early to consider your financial position for your future, this includes considering paying for future care. By speaking to a financial advisor you can get a better understanding of your financial position by undertaking a cash flow analysis. This will give peace of mind that any potential care home fees are affordable, and helps you to understand what investment risk needs to be taken now and for a sustainable income for the future.
2. Do Your Research On Your Options For Care
Research your or your loved ones options for care. Whether it’s care at home (domiciliary care) or a care home, you should consider the following:
- Visit potential care or nursing homes - arrange to visit any potential homes and take time to compare them, to find one that suits you or your loved one. Look around, talk to staff and the person in charge, and ask if you can spend the day at the home or visit to share a meal
- Check the home can meet your needs - ask the potential home if they can meet the needs set out in the care needs assessment. They must check to ensure they’re properly set up and staffed to meet those needs before accepting you
- Request documentation – for example the most recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report and the homes Statement of Purpose, which sets out the services offered, the types of needs it meets, the range of facilities provided, and the approach it takes to maximise you or your loved one’s wellbeing.
3. Look At All Your Funding Options – You May Not Need To Sell The Family Home
Paying for care can be complex, and every situation is different. The family home is often the most valuable asset and is often used to fund care needs. However, there are many considerations to try and preserve the home as an asset, including the type of care such as domiciliary care or a care home. Options can include:
- NHS funding and local authority funding
- Equity release
- Combination of income (pensions, dividends, rent, investment portfolio)
- Deferred payment agreements.
There’s no single financial solution that will suit everybody, so specialist financial advice about the most appropriate way to structure your assets is essential.
If entering into a third party top up agreement (paying care fees on behalf of someone else) make sure you can afford the payments in any eventuality.
4. Ensure You Fully Understand The Care Home Contract Before You Sign
It's understandable that when the decision is made to place a loved one in care, it can be an extremely emotional and difficult time – however it’s critical time is given to understand the finer legal details.
Care home or admission agreements for nursing homes are often carefully worded and take time to digest and comprehend. We encourage you to get answers to some of the key questions you may not have considered, including:
- Is a trial period available at the care home? If so, how long for and at what cost?
- Under what circumstances can a trial period can be terminated?
- What happens if funding arrangements change? For example, going from private to state funded
- What’s the complaints handling procedure?
- What are the terms for ending the contract, and how long is the notice period?
Although the above are crucial considerations, there’s also other important factors to consider that will have an impact on you or your loved one’s standard of living. For example, what’s the care homes food hygiene rating, and whether they’re able to cater to dietary requirements?
You may also want to consider:
- Who’s the care home manager?
- Are pets allowed?
- Can you share a room or have a room close to your spouse if they also need care?
- Can you choose between male and female carers?
- Can religious requirements be fulfilled?
- How access to personal funds is managed and whether you will need personal contents insurance.
5. Ensure You Have Lasting Powers Of Attorney (LPA) In Place
As we move into our older years, particularly when transitioning into care, it’s important to think about what should happen if your mental capacity was to start to decline – indeed most care homes now will require all its residents to have an LPA in place before moving in.
By having an LPA in place you’ll be able to appoint a trusted friend or relative (or a professional attorney) to manage those important decisions for you. This will include who will look after your financial affairs, including payments to the care home and decisions on your medical care and treatment.
Our friendly and approachable team can offer support and clear guidance, advising you on what action to take to ensure your wishes are followed and your best interests are looked after. We're one of the UK’s leading law firms, and our specialist teams located across multiple offices has extensive experience with later life planning and moving into care.
Contact Us Today
Contact us today for help and advice on moving into care. You can call us on 0808 291 2252 or contact us online.
Supporting You And Your Family
Future planning is one of the biggest investments you can make – not only for yourself, but for your loved ones as well. Please visit Supporting You And Your Family for more ways you can plan for the future.