Hearing about the #snowheroes in our NHS, Adult Social Care services and Care providers battling the 'Beast from the East' across the length and breadth of the Country last week has been utterly heart-warming. As care advisers we can also make a difference and I am proud to work with a network of professionals dedicated to later life care advice.
Although not nearly as important as keeping people safe, warm, and well, unfortunately we occasionally come across sad stories and it makes my blood boil when I hear a story like the one I came across last week.
A gentleman in every sense who was managing very well at home. Perfectly able and capable, he had been frightened by a fall and was feeling vulnerable without immediate family or local support. His confidence shaken, he had been pondering on the what if's and had bought an Equity Release product with no urgent need for the money and no regard given (despite a regulatory requirement) to the fact that his means tested benefit entitlement would be totally wiped out by the money left in the bank “for a rainy day”. A care provision entitlement as well as a combined potential annual benefit gain of over £5’ 500 plus 'passported' benefits had been totally overlooked for £30’000 in the bank.
He is now paying for his care in full and being bombarded by leaflets but "doesn't want to make a fuss dear" and thankfully, having been referred to CAN by his Local Authority, apart from engaging a variety of support he will be speaking with a SOLLA care fees specialist and CAN member before making any further decisions re his property and funding options.
In Jan Radio 4 Money Box programme highlighted the increase in the number of older people raising money by using the value of their home, a growth of 40% last year. Altogether more than £3 billion of the equity in their homes was released and this case serves to remind us that with the options for Equity Release products comes a responsibility to consider care and care funding including benefit entitlement and Local Authority grants and services. How many care or care funding advisers can hand on heart say that they are able to do that?