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Care & carers

How to pay for care?

(96 Posts)
getmehrt Mon 04-Jul-11 08:59:17

I see there's a lot of stuff about paying for care in later life on the news you worry about having to sell you house if you need care? I am confused about the current situation, but it feels as if too much is being left to chance and you could be very, very unlucky.

sneetch Mon 04-Jul-11 10:22:47

I only recently found out that you can lose 90% of your assets if you need care.
I'm really worried, for my mum, as well as myself - and I'm also cross that the last set of proposals from Labour were rubbished as a 'death tax'. Still, these latest ideas seem sensible. You do have to pay something, but you know there's a limit.

There ought to be some way of insuring yourself really...

effblinder Mon 04-Jul-11 10:38:39

I really hope that this round of talks gets something done - it feels like nothing's ever going to change, even though everyone knows something should have been done ages ago. I agree that the state and individual should share the burden, but how can that work in practical terms?
Anything would be better than sitting around waiting for this crisis to get steadily worse, though.

annie19 Mon 04-Jul-11 11:04:01

I would definitely like to get insurance if there was some - does anyone know if this exists?
I don't want myself or my family to be a burden on the state, but there should be another option that doesn't mean I have to sell my house, which means a great deal to me.
I read an article about the new Dilnot report that seems to have a lot of promise as a new, different, solution. I do hope the government take it into account and make a change in the system.

putaspellonyou Mon 04-Jul-11 11:24:12

I got interested in this a while back when my elderly father needed to go into care and I was told by a financial advisor to "lose" his assets. He said it was common for people to sell their houses and move the money before they needed care. So the rich aren't actually paying. The current system doesn't work.

I agree, the Dilnot proposals are a good idea. A society is judged by how it looks after the most vulnerable and we are failing miserably here.

crumblygranny Mon 04-Jul-11 11:26:29

This has been in the news for the last 10 years. Someone/ everyone needs to get behind this, with no room for pettiness (of the party political nature). Families are going through enough when they need this extra support, the emotional cost of needing care and support really shouldn't be compounded by financial stress. Yes it will cost the state some money, but let's not forget that we've all paid taxes for most of our lives, and we do live in a country where all the political parties, and nearly everyone else, believes the most vulnerable should be supported.

Sorry - bit early for a rant - but really feel on this, our politicians have a duty to do the right thing - really hope they don't pass up on that!

Mamgu Mon 04-Jul-11 11:50:06

Why can't there be a tapered cut-off point? A £35k cap could still swallow a huge proportion of the life savings and assets of someone who's worked at minimum wage level, whereas for a stokebroker it's small change.

For those asking about insurance - according to Nick Robinson's blog on the BBC site this morning, the idea is that these products will become available. (I inherently mistrust the insurance industry though - does what the state does, but adds a profit margin. Great.)

Mamgu Mon 04-Jul-11 11:50:53

Oh. Stockbroker, not stokebroker. I don't know what a stokebroker might be.

absentgrana Mon 04-Jul-11 14:37:43

This is such a complex issue and it is incredibly difficult to decide what is fair. In the past – and in some families today – elderly parents were cared for by the next generation down. My grandmother was looked after by my aunts, my husband and I cared for my mother, and my sisters-in-law assist my mother-in-law. My daughter regards caring for her elderly parents and step-father, if it ever becomes necessary, as a given. However, families tend to be much more widely dispersed these days so this is not always possible. Also, looking after an elderly relative who, unlike a child, will grow increasingly dependent and exhausting, is a far from easy task, especially if there is some kind of dementia and/or another younger generation still living at home.

• While a tax paid by everybody would probably be the fairest way forward, it does seem hard on those who put their lives on the back burner – often for years – as my aunts and my husband and I did. However, taxes should be universal – for example, it would be unreasonable for me to complain about taxes spent on education just because I don't have a school-age child.

• Balanced against tax are benefits but this does need to be a proper balance. It does seem a little hard and somewhat disproportional that most of someone's life savings, capital assets (family home) and, possibly, some of their children's income can be used up in care, while other people are fully (ish) funded. It does seem a bit like Aesop's ant and grasshopper. I am not, of course, suggesting that all those who cannot pay for their own care have been spendthrift.

• Savings are for something special or for rainy days. Needing care in old age is when the rain starts to fall. You can't take it with you and it's not an entitlement for your children (see below).

• SKI – adult children do not have an automatic right to inherit anything from their parents. It seems dreadful to me that some older people forgo not just pleasures but basic comforts in the last years of their lives so that their sons and daughters will have an inheritance. If the only way to get proper care is to spend every last penny you have, then you should do it.

• I am confused about the family home – where is Paul Lewis when you need him? In my case, for example, the house is in my name and paid for by me and so too are most of the savings and investments. What would happen if my husband became so ill (touch wood several times, here) that he needed residential care? Other people have different concerns – dependent children still living with them, for example. Nothing is made clear and you only find out about this stuff when you're in the rather desperate situation of needing to sort out care.

Apologies for having gone on at quite such length but I should really like to know what other people think about these aspects of this seriously important – and possibly for many of us personal – issue.

Grandpatom Mon 04-Jul-11 16:37:57

I see no justification whatever for the State paying for my care whilst I still own substantial assets. However all parties appear to regard saying such a thing as taboo. Why? Just votes? Doing what is morally right has to count for something sometime, surely.

jangly Mon 04-Jul-11 16:57:05

I think its so unfair that our savings are being eaten away by inflation and low interest rates. Its difficult to find the right balance between how much to keep saving for future care, how much to spend now and how much to give to the kids whilst we are still around to see them enjoy it.

I suppose you just have to try to find a balance and then consider the lillies...

bluebell Mon 04-Jul-11 17:17:30

If someone has cancer, no matter what their assets are, they can receive free NHS care - why should needing care for dementia for example, be any different? It's a lottery - that's why it should be paid for by the state from taxation. I do agree with Dilnot that there should be a contribution towards board and lodgings however.

FlicketyB Tue 05-Jul-11 15:13:06

Grandpatom, I could not agree more. However modest ones circumstances if you have been able to buy a house you are much better off than many people. The reason most people do not want to sell their house to fund their care is because, understandably, they wish to leave their accumulated assets to their children, and while there will be elderly house-owners who have dependent or impoverished children, the majority will have children who have gone through higher education or acquired more practical skills and will be earning the average wage or more.

Why should taxpayers on lower salaries, who cannot afford to buy houses or are burdened with repaying the cost of their higher education contribute to the care of people who do not want to pay for their care because they want to leave their already relatively well-off children a large lump-sum.

As far as I am concerned as much as my husband and I would like to leave our estate to our children, I accept that if we go into care everything we have accumulatedit may well all be swallowed up in care home fees. And as for all this harping on about selling the family home, when someone goes into care their home is generally sold anyway. I had an uncle in care who did not need to sell his house to fund his care home fees. We still sold the house. It was lying empty and needed to be looked after and maintained and he could never return to it, so it was sold.

I would much rather see the money used to fund our universities so that youngsters coming out of higher education are not so burdened with debt that the idea of buying a house let alone having children seems an unattainable dream.

crimson Tue 05-Jul-11 15:21:16

Is it correct that Scotland care homes are free?

em Tue 05-Jul-11 17:14:49

As far as I know, the personal care element is free (as it is for those supported at home) but the 'board and lodging' part is chargeable. I'm happy to be corrected by anyone who knows it's different.

chatykathy Tue 05-Jul-11 17:28:55

My in laws were the first in their family to ever own their own home and to do so they both worked fulltime and FIL often had two jobs. Neither of them drank or smoked and gave everything to provide a good home for their two boys with some ideal of having something to leave in their will. FIL has been dead for many years and MIL is developing dementia. If she goes into a care home (we are doing our upmost to care for her now but both work full time and have a mortgage to pay) her house will have to be old and any dreams they had about leaving their lads something will be gone. They would have been far better off to have stayed in their Council house and not bothered to work. Where's the justice in that? Neither of the boys are relying on the money - it's not a fortune but it just seems so unfair.

biba Tue 05-Jul-11 17:29:36

1s. Why is there one set of rules for medical care and another for socal care?
Surely, at base, both medical and social care are vital for maximising the health and the wellbeing of a person who is vulnerable and needs help.

2. As mentioned above (bluebell)why is it that someone who is incapacitated by cancer automatically recieves non means tested free state care when a person who has dementia or a peroson, not of retirement age, is disabled in an accident and needs some assitance to remain in ther own home, is means tested and may have to pay a contribution towards their care?

3. Why is it that stays in hospital for medical care are totally free when it is suggested that "hotel" fees are reasonable for those needing social care in a residential setting?

Perhaps it is time to revisit our understanding of what we, as a society, mean by "care".

Perhaps we should be re-assessing the division we enforce between medical and social care.

Perhaps we need a Ministry of Care which is then subdivided into two branches of medical and social care both working to a common set of rules for those areas which are shared.

Is there a sublte type of agism going on here?

borstalgran Tue 05-Jul-11 17:30:58

I'd be willing to pay some NI contributions rather than extra tax. Easier to graduate?

em Tue 05-Jul-11 17:32:12

Isn't it still the case that anyone in receipt of state pension has to hand over a large chunk of that pension if they spend a while in hospital? Maybe that has changed but it was true for my aunt a few years back.

jangly Tue 05-Jul-11 17:34:30

FlicketyB, who are these lower paid tax payers who can't afford to buy their own house? My daughter, a teacher, started buying her own house with five years of starting out, and teachers are definitely not highly paid, especially when they start their career. She has now paid off her mortgage completely. Admittedly it is a small, one bedroomed house. She paid for it by limiting the amount she paid on other things, such as clothes, holidays, etc.

I think a lot of people could buy their own homes, if they cut their coats to fit their cloth.

crimson Tue 05-Jul-11 17:42:36

It's my understanding that people can't even get mortgages these days to get on the property ladder.

jangly Tue 05-Jul-11 18:04:31

I appreciate it is harder these days. But not impossible, with hard saving. I guess I wasn't thinking about young people who are trying to get on the property ladder in the present climate. It'll be some time before they retire.

silverfoxygran Tue 05-Jul-11 18:05:33

My husband is disabled and my concern has always been that if I die first then any money (including our house) would soon be swallowed up in care-home funds. To protect my half of everything we have changed the deeds of the house to Tenants in Common which means when I die my half of the house is put in trust for my children and grandchildren and cannot be used by the state.

We have struggled financially and even had a house repossessed during one bad period of illness. It is only through inheriting part of a house that we have our own roof over our heads now. We have rebuilt our lives and I hope to leave some funds to our children and grandchildren who have been so supportive and loving during our time of great distress.

jangly Tue 05-Jul-11 18:11:51

And I hope they let you do so silverfoxy.

crimson Tue 05-Jul-11 18:13:32

Have to save @ £10,OOO deposit even for a small house; no chance if you're having to pay rent on top of repaying student loans [only thing to do is still live with mum and dad for as long as possible]. Everyone in this country is being affected in one way or's so demoralising. I actually wish I lived in a caravan somewhere and didn't have to worry about property etc any more. Remember the woman who lived in Alan Bennetts garden, or 'Edna the Inebriate Woman'...I aspire to being one of them. I started at the top and worked my way down......