When it comes to care in later life, what you spend will go towards ensuring your needs are looked after, which ultimately results in your health and happiness. This huge outgoing should not be committed to without thought and consideration. Care home costs vary enormously and the type of care needed or wanted is usually what decides the amount of money that is likely to be needed.
A person who only needs a carer to pop in and help them with a few personal tasks will need less individual care and will, therefore, pay less than somebody who needs 24/7 care.
When you are funding your own care you will have more control over how your money is spent, which means you should be able to consider all the options and choose the one that suits you best. Yet many people feel there isn’t a choice and think a residential home is the only option. This simply isn’t true – there is always a choice so ensure your money is being spent wisely on a care option that you are happy with.
Here are some tips to ensure you understand all your options and all the different financial aspects of care:
Is Residential Care The Only Answer?
If you are going into a residential care home then you may be entitled to help from your Local Authority if you have assets that amount to less than a certain threshold (currently £23,500 in 2017). However, you will have less choice about care homes as the cost will be a factor as the Local Authority will be paying.
However, if you are self-funding your care, there will be a wider choice of care home available to you. If you require 24/7 nursing then a nursing home is probably necessary and they do cost more money.
Depending on your needs though, a residential care home is not the only option. Live-in care could be a good alternative for you. Live-in care is where you stay in your home, with all your belongings, pets and familiar items and a carer lives with you to provide you with all the help you need.
Many people would love live-in care but believe it is not available to them because of their budget or needs. But speak to your GP or healthcare provider about your healthcare needs and whether they can be met with live-in care before ruling it out. In nearly all cases they can be.
On the financial side of things, according to the care home costs calculator from the UK Care Guide you could have 7 hours of homecare per day (7 days a week) for the same cost as a residential care home. Costs do, of course, vary by location so take a look at our Care Funding Guidance booklet for more information.
Are You Getting All The Money You Can?
It may be that you are eligible for help with care home costs from your Local Authority if you have less than £23,500 in assets. But if you have more than the threshold, you may believe that the income and assets you have are the only money available to pay for your care. That’s not always the case – look into Attendance Allowance or Pension Credits and you may find there are ways to top up your income and increase the amount you have available for care home costs. You may also want to consider letting your property out for additional money if you intend to live with a family member, or move into a care home.
Can You Put A Cost On Happiness?
Statistics from the Live-in Care Hub Better At Home report showed that 97% of people do not want to go into a care home if they become unwell or less able to care for themselves.
Are you one of those people?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to go into residential care, it has many benefits and works well for many people. However, as the statistics show, it isn’t necessarily the preferable option for all and if that is the case, it might be worth looking into live in or home care as a better option and working your budget around that. It can be just as affordable as a care home, but mostly, think about the other benefits including but not limited to:
- Lowering the chance of hip fractures
- Remaining in a familiar environment
- Staying with your partner
- Keeping your pet(s)
- Continuing to enjoy certain hobbies
- Keeping in touch with local friends and neighbours
- Feeling in control
When it comes to spending your money wisely on care home costs, what ‘wise’ means for you is completely individual. For some it means getting the best value for money, for others it means getting a care option that will make them happiest regardless of cost. Just remember to do your research and seek advice where necessary so the choice you make is an informed choice.