Long-term care: Managing your loved one’s changing needs

It’s important to be prepared for a range of eventualities when it comes to long-term care, for you and your loved ones.

Overview:

  • Preparation is important if a parent or grandparent needs care, so make sure you consider how their needs might evolve in the future.
  • These evolving needs will shape where they might live and how much care could cost.
  • Seeking expert advice is the best place to start when planning for the future, and it can help you deal with the current situation – from managing the family finances to navigating the UK’s care systems.

Finding that a parent or grandparent needs care can be a sudden and overwhelming shock, and the first thing to prioritise is addressing their immediate needs, along with any concerns you might have. They may, for example, be about to be discharged from hospital while no longer being able to manage at home on their own, or they may have experienced sudden deterioration in their mental or physical health. Our recommended steps for arranging and paying for care can be found here.

The long-term picture will need to be addressed as soon as you’re in a position to, however – of course, it’s even better if you’ve been able to consider this situation ahead of the crisis, while your elderly relative is still in good health.

While every case has its own unique problems and concerns, the likelihood of your parent or grandparent needing static care is very slim. Instead, a broad spectrum of care will undoubtedly be needed, and we recommend taking some time to consider what’s available to support their needs – not only now, but also in the future.

Changing care needs

At the beginning, it may be possible for your relative to continue living in their own home with only minimal outside help, such as with meals or cleaning. This is quite easy to arrange and keeps costs down, too.

Yet how long they can continue this way is dependent on their individual condition, and it may not take long for your relative to need residential care. Further deterioration may also mean they’ll eventually need dedicated nursing or dementia care.

Some residential homes already offer this kind of specialised care, but you’ll need to do your research to make sure – after all, moving your relative from one facility to another can be a difficult and disruptive process all around. If you think they may need more complex care in the future, it’s therefore wise to try and find a facility that already offers a full range of care.

Paying for residential or in-home care 

One of the biggest things to consider – and likely a large concern on your mind already – is the cost implications of your relative’s care, now and in the future – especially if they’ll need to fund it themselves.

To give you an idea of costs at each end of the spectrum, a carer visiting the house for two hours a day could cost £15,000 a year or more1, while a residential home with full dementia care could cost upwards of £48,000 a year2 – depending on where you live in the country.

Broaching the subject

The subject of care can be a difficult and emotional one to bring up, especially if your relative is beginning to fail frequently and it’s becoming dangerous for them to remain at home by themselves. However, you – and they – will find that the more prepared you can be for both future needs and future costs, the easier the whole process will become.

Because it’s such a hugely emotive subject, many find that, understandably, very few people are prepared for the situation, and frequently find that they simply learn to handle it as they go.

Getting the support you need

Outside help is one way to make the process easier for everyone – and while they may not be the first people who comes to mind, one important source of support can come from your financial adviser.

Our expert financial advisers at Wellesley can guide you through the options available for funding – from how much your local authority may be able to pay for care to structuring your relative’s finances in the best way to help them pay for care-home costs.

We know how difficult this time can be, but it’s important to remember that, with the right support and advice, you can get where you need to be – both now and as things develop in the future.

Sources:

1 Care home or home care?, Money Advice Service, 2021

2 How much does care cost?, Paying For Care, 2021

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