Find out about your rights when it comes to elderly care and how to plan ahead to ensure your wishes are met in the future.
As you get older, you might have started thinking about elderly care options. It won’t be fun but it is wise to think about your care before anything happens that means you no longer have the ability to choose.
It makes sense to think about the future in such a practical way because 2 in 100 older people develop dementia and there is one stroke every 5 minutes in the UK. These are just a couple of examples of reasons you might need care, and reasons you might not be able to exercise your own choice over the type of care you have. To have the kind of future that you want, you should think and plan ahead, before anything compromises your ability to choose for yourself.
Thinking about choice, it may have also crossed your mind that you might at some point be forced into care. Or perhaps you’re worried somebody can force you into a care home against your will. Although these kinds of considerations can be extremely worrying, it is important to know your rights, particularly if you are concerned you might be forced into a care home at some point.
Can You Be Forced Into A Care Home?
If you’re willing to receive care in your own home, care in a care home, move into sheltered accommodation or otherwise accept care that you need, then there should be no conflict with family, friends and social workers. However, it may be that you strongly oppose any form of care and feel that you can take care of yourself.
If this is the case then you may feel that you are at risk of being forced into a care home.
In the UK, the general answer is no – you cannot be forced into a care home. If you have all your faculties and you are deemed able to care for yourself then you cannot be forced into care.
However, Social Services do have a duty of care and so they have to assess your needs as an adult, and provide any services that are needed. So if your care needs are not being met, they can place you in an environment where they believe your needs will be met.
In all instances they will always try to persuade you, or the person in need of care, to be in a place they believe will be the safest and where care needs will be met. In some instances this may relate to the safety of others, as in circumstances where a person with dementia has become violent to others. But almost all care needs can be met at home with the right professional live-in care.
Live-in Care: A Primary Option Before Care Homes
Social Services suggest that any concerned family members or friends speak to them about their relative and the concerns they have for their safety. In most instances they will arrange a care assessment and if there is a strong preference to remain at home they can arrange for a carer to attend the person’s home at regular intervals to provide them with the care they need.
Live-in care is also be an option for those with greater care needs so make sure you discuss this with Social Services if they are involved. With live-in care you are able to remain in your home safely and independently whilst a trained carer lives with you and helps you with whatever tasks you struggle with alone.
Financially it makes sense to prepare for elderly care if you will be self-funding. This kind of financial planning will enable you to protect your future and ensure you will have the kind of care that you want. You can even detail the care you would like in the eventuality that you are unable to make decisions for yourself any more. In this instance you must have a family member you trust placed in charge of your care, and your financial affairs so that you can be assured they will carry out your wishes.
Here is a useful booklet to help you find out more about funding later life care:
It is also a good idea to speak to an Independent Financial Advisor that has experience in financial planning for elderly care, and to speak to your family about your plans.