Choosing Care Paying for Care
Choosing someone to manage your decisions, should there be a time when you are not able to, can help give peace of mind. It can save money and make sure that those caring for you take into account your wishes if they are having to make decisions in your best interests.
The ability to understand and make a decision when it needs to be made is called ‘mental capacity’. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) is a law that protects and supports those who can’t make some or all decisions for themselves. It has a ‘Code of Practice’ for those who are assessing someone’s capacity and supporting them to make decisions.
While you are able to manage your own affairs it is important to consider that in the future you may not be able to make arrangements or decisions for yourself as an accident or illness can affect our ability to make decisions and may lead to someone else having to help or even make some decisions on your behalf in the future.
Have you thought about these things?
Who would manage your finances or health decisions if you are no longer able to?
Do you have an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney?
Have you made a will or set out your wishes for your care, property or family?
Please don’t assume, as many do, that if anything happens to you your partner/spouse/children will be able to ‘manage your affairs’ for you, they may not be allowed to if there is no legal provision in place.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
A Lasting Power of Attorney enables a person who is over 18 years old with capacity to choose another person or people to make decisions on their behalf. There are 2 different types of Lasting Power of Attorney; Property and Financial affairs and/or Health and Welfare.
An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used. A fee is charged for registration of each Lasting Power of Attorney application registered with and administered by the Office of Public Guardian. You can get part of your application fee back if you applied to register a power of attorney from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017.
The Office of the Public Guardian – 0300 456 0300.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
An Enduring Power of Attorney that was signed by both the Donor and Attorney before Oct 2007 when Lasting Power of Attorney came into force with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 can still be used and registered as a legal document. You should make the application to register the EPA as soon as you have reason to believe the Donor is losing the mental capacity to manage their affairs.
An Attorney can use the power straight away if that is the Donors wish or the Donor could make it clear that the EPA is only to be used if they become mentally unable to manage their affairs in the future.
Court of Protection – Deputy
When no Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney exists and someone lacks the capacity to make their own decision the Court of Protection can appoint Deputies to make decisions in the best interests of those who lack capacity.
For more information on legal capacity please contact;
Office of Public Guardian – 0300 456 0300
Court of Protection – 0300 456 4600
If you would like help to apply for a Power of Attorney or need specialist care legal advice please SEARCH FOR AN ADVISER who may be able to help our members may be able to help
Tel; 0800 999 25 27 I 01280 818 784
TOP TEN TIPS
1. Knowledge is power – We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s easy to be guided by other people, especially if you are tired and have little time or no previous experience of the care and benefit system but do you really want to rely on that when you are engaging one of the most expensive services of your lifetime without getting expert advice?
Informed decisions can only be made with ALL of the relevant information. True, there can come a point when you have information overload but without knowing what you need to know, personalised for your circumstances how can you make good choices?
2. Understand the variables - Residential care costs, on average, more than £30,000 a year. A nursing home can cost £40,000 a year or more if you live in the South East, it can be £10,000 a year more and for ’self-funders’ who can pay more for a place in the same home as someone who is supported by a Local Authority or funded by NHS Continuing Healthcare. Did you know the Local Authority must help you arrange care at home if you ask? Not the same as paying for it! And that the Local Authority must provide some services FREE of charge regardless of your funding status...
3. Know the Care and Housing Options – Before making a life changing decision make sure you are aware of your options. Often our choices depend on location and cost so it’s worth finding out what help there is and what services are FREE of charge. Do you know what the difference is between a Residential care home and a Nursing home? Would Live In care be more suitable, will the Council pay? What will happen if your money runs out?
4. Choose the right care - Avoid over- spending on care that you don’t need or wouldn’t qualify for if the money runs out. The right care starts with the right advice and claiming benefits, getting the right assessments can lead to additional money to help you pay for your choice of care.
5. More haste less speed - Sometimes there is a need for swift action but before making life changing choices think about why you have come to this decision. Moving into a care home can’t stop you falling and if you are lonely at home moving into a care home isn’t necessarily the answer. A period of respite leading to long term care is common but ask yourself, is this choice sustainable? If not, what happens when the money runs out? Don’t rush into signing anything before knowing what else may be available.
6. Don't make assumptions - The most common assumption is that a house will have to be sold or that you will be forced that you will be forced to go into a home and sell the house. Often a property is disregarded from a Local Authority financial assessment. The Council may be able to make a Deferred Payment Agreement if you are moving into a care home and don’t want to or can’t sell. Moving or Renting may work for you and with most people preferring to stay at home Adult Social Care and NHS services may be able to help you to remain independent.
7. Help from the state – Both the NHS and Adult Social Care (also known as the Council or Local Authority) have services that are FREE of charge, regardless of whether you will be ‘self- funding your care’. NHS Funding is free from a means test but Adult Social Care is usually means-tested with an upper funding level of £23’250 (England 2019/20). There are more non-means tested welfare benefits than those that are means tested, many are left unclaimed and often this is a lack of awareness rather than a reluctance to claim. Make sure you have the facts and avoid paying for care when you shouldn’t be or for too long.
8. Make Plans - Registering a Power of Attorney while you are still able to choose someone you trust will save you time and money and can give peace of mind that your wishes are known and followed, should there be a time when you are not able to make your own decisions unassisted. Making a Will, Estate planning and financial advice may save you time and money.
9. Give yourself a break - Most people would prefer to stay at home given the choice. There are 7 million carers in the UK. 1 in 5 people between 50- 65 years are carers, and 65% of older carers live with a disability of their own. Don’t wear your self out or suffer in stoic silence.
10. Funding Tree –
If you aren’t sure what these things are or still have questions please request a ‘Funding Care Check’ before making potentially life changing decisions to ensure you are claiming your benefit entitlement, accessing the right support and have help to find good care.
Tel; 0800 999 25 27 I 01280 818 784