Finance and Legal
With a cost comparable to residential care homes, live-in care could be more affordable than you think
While live-in care may cost less than you think, it’s still a big financial commitment and it will be important to plan how best to meet the cost of care.
How much does live-in care cost?
When you add up all the benefits, 24/7 live-in care offers excellent value for money. To begin with, having a live-in care service is far more economical than having a domiciliary care team working eight-hour shifts, where not only is continuity compromised but costs become extremely prohibitive. Comparable to the cost of a good residential care home, live-in care is even more cost effective when care is required for couples or more than one person.
Most of the cost of residential care fees is made up of both accommodation and food rather than the actual care costs themselves. Live-in care by contrast is 100% one-on-one care ‘touch time’. It is important when considering the options open to you that you understand exactly how much of the fee you pay is for the care time itself.
Live-in fees will also depend on the level of care required. For instance, ‘companionship care’, with minimal personal care or condition management will cost much less than more complex care, which may include nurse-led services and clinical oversight. Fees will also depend on the kind of service you choose. If you want to be in control of the care and oversight, an introductory service may be appropriate and will cost you less than a fully managed service. Understanding the difference between these models of care will help you ensure you choose what is best for you.
Only pay for what you need
An introductory service usually pays for a carer, plus an agency management cost. For fully managed care services, fees tend to cover a fixed, all-inclusive weekly rate covering everything involved, including monitoring the care service, liaison with health professional, supervising and supporting the carers. Full management fees may also cover bank holiday work and sometimes travel expenses. Basic fees for the introductory package don’t usually cover travel expenses.
Many fully managed services – and some introductory agencies – also offer 24/7 expert teams on call to support carers, along with specialist nursing support.
You also need to take into account your carers’ living costs. These can range from food, heating, lighting, plus any personal client costs (continence products, latex gloves, additional car insurance and so on). Our advice is to factor them into your everyday household outgoings and to work with the care provider on what is required when discussing the service at the outset.
At first glance the prospect of deciding how best to meet your care costs can seem daunting. But don’t worry, as you will see it is actually a relatively straight-forward process and we, in association with Care Funding Guidance, a not for profit organisation, will help you to make sure that your finances are in the best possible shape.
Firstly, please download a copy of the guide opposite. From our research it’s the only practical guide to paying for live-in care in the UK and it will help you to get a good idea of some of the things you’ll need to consider. If you would like a copy of the guide posted to you please either phone 0800 055 6225 (Freephone) or email email@example.com
We think you will find the guide itself very helpful but it’s quite likely that you will have some questions and will want to discuss things as they relate to your circumstances. In which case call or email Care Funding Guidance and they will listen to your circumstances and then provide guidance as to the options that you face.
They will also confirm the main points of that discussion in writing so that you can share the content around interested family members. Something that should help with the decision making process.
About Care Funding Guidance
Care Funding Guidance is the only not for profit organisation in the UK that provides free help and information to families who have to pay for their care.
It is financially supported by both the care industry as well as the financial services industry so its help to our families is completely free.
They are not financial advisers and cannot sell you anything. They can put you in touch with specialist care funding advisers if required though.
As regards supplementary funding from the State specialist advisors also available to guide you through the financial help available. Not all are means tested or taxed. And if the person being cared for is over 65 and has needed help with daily tasks for longer than six months, they can claim Attendance Allowance. The same applies for adults under 65 too, in the form of Personal independence Payments (formerly known as Disability Living Allowance).
*The amounts vary across the UK, but here are the figures for 2014/15
- England upper: £23,250; lower £14,250
- Scotland upper: £26,000; lower £16,000
- Wales upper: £24,000; lower £24,000
- Northern Ireland: upper £23,250; lower £14,25
NHS Continuing Healthcare
When full-time care is called for, health becomes the primary need. This means all care fees should be covered by the NHS through a scheme called NHS Continuing Healthcare. Many people have no idea it even exists and end up paying for fees they don’t need to. Applying for funding can be complex, but there are specialist advisors who can help you through it. Everyone is entitled to request a Health needs assessment which determines whether they meet the criteria for funding or not.
Find out more
Symponia is a collective membership body of invited specialist advisors. With members all over the UK, it’s made up of financial advisors, solicitors, estate planners, equity release practitioners, care homes and home care providers. You can find out more at www.symponia.co.uk www.clubsymponia.org or by calling 01789 774595
The legal side of live-in care
If the person being cared for is able to give their consent, it might be more practical for one or more members of the family to be granted lasting power of attorney (LPA). Depending on the type of LPA, this gives them the power to act legally on their behalf for anything relating to finances, property, welfare or medical treatment.
While online forms can be downloaded to set up the process, it’s a much better idea to establish a lasting power of attorney through a solicitor. In fact, depending on the situation, a solicitor can be very important.
For instance, some solicitors work directly with live-in care companies to look after their client’s affairs. If the person being looked after has no family or next of kin, or the family live far away, a solicitor can take care of day-do-day affairs. In this case, the carer becomes the eyes and ears of the solicitor, letting them know of any changes or concerns.
A good solicitor will also stop others from taking advantage. (For example, if someone like a gardener is being paid to do a job, but isn’t turning up.) Working with solicitors, live-in carers can also help prevent clients being taken in by unscrupulous mailings and cold calls.
Where dementia is involved, live-in carers really come into their own. Trained in the condition, they can help to explain any legal paperwork alongside the solicitor.
All that being said, many solicitors still aren’t aware of live-in care as a potentially more appropriate and attractive option for you or your family member(s). They may assume a residential care or nursing home is the obvious next step, so it’s well worth letting them know that live-in care is a real alternative – perhaps the preferred route. After all, it will make their life easier too.