Most of the calls we receive on the Independent Age Helpline have a financial element. For example, many people need information about residential care services and who pays for this.
The system is complex and the first time people may think about it is at a time when they are highly stressed, for example when they or a loved one are in hospital.
Recently, we spoke to a caller in a difficult situation. Their relative had dementia and needed residential care. Unfortunately the relative did not have anyone with a lasting power of attorney (LPA). This is a legal document giving someone the power to make certain decisions on your behalf. The local authority needed to complete their financial assessment but couldn’t do so because the person lacked mental capacity. The relative was applying for a deputyship with the Court of Protection to give them the power to access the person’s financial information and make decisions on their behalf.
Callers are often surprised about the cost of residential care.
In the South-East of England someone could be expected to pay over £1,000 a week.
Callers also tell us about the lack of choices they face, especially if the council is paying for their care. Often older people need to top-up the funding they receive from their local authority which can be difficult for them and can put a financial pressure on their friends and family.
How the local authority assess care can be complicated. We deal with calls every day on the helpline with people who are confused and worried about the means testing. We are often asked how their home will be treated. There are also issues around equity release which comes with its own complexities. We advise people to seek expert financial advice on equity release before deciding what to do, for example from the Society of Later Life Advisors (SOLLA).
Have you been affected by any of these issues?
If you have any issues you would like to discuss regarding the issues above, call the Independent Age Helpline on 0800 319 6789.
We also have a range of related factsheets and guides that can be accessed on our website at https://www.independentage.org/