HOW TO STAY IN YOUR HOME FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE IF YOU NEED LONG-TERM CARE
If you need assistance as you age, moving into a care home or nursing home isn’t your only option. In-home care is a possibility for many people and can include adaptations to your home, having someone come in to help on a regular basis or hiring live-in carers. Such solutions can often work out less expensive than residential care. It’s always important to seek expert advice, whatever your situation – and St. James's Place Partners can help with the whole process.
Many people requiring some form of long-term care assume they will have to move into a care home or nursing home. However, that is not necessarily the case: receiving care in your own home can frequently be enough to help solve the issues you’re dealing with.
What’s more, because people often worry about leaving their home and moving into residential care, they might put off addressing their care needs and end up trying to manage on their own for far longer than they need to. To avoid this scenario, it’s important to be aware that in-home care is a possibility – and, of course, it’s many people’s preferred option.
Types of in-home care
The in-home support you can receive falls broadly into the following categories:
- Adaptations to your own home: this could include installing a stairlift, having grab rails fitted around the house, installing a walk-in shower with a seat, or having a personal alarm fitted for emergencies, such as if you were to fall.
- Visiting care: this would involve someone coming to your home on a regular basis – which could be anything from a few hours a week to several hours a day – to provide help with cooking, cleaning, washing, dressing and so on.
- Live-in care: if you need more help, a carer can move into your home and be available 24 hours a day. This could be one person who lives there all the time or several people who work on a rota basis. The cost of this is, of course, likely to be much higher than visiting care. Both visiting care and live-in care can be provided either privately by individuals or by a home-care agency.
- Sheltered housing: this is accommodation especially designed for older people, which can allow you to continue living independently for longer. It usually involves a self-contained flat with a warden who will help to look after the place and an emergency alarm system should you need it. Some – but not all – also offer care services.
Financial advantages of in-home care
There are often some financial advantages to remaining in your own home for as long as possible – although, of course, it’s important not to let these be your primary consideration when working out the best form of care for you.
The first is that the cost of in-home care can often be significantly lower than care-home costs, if you’re having to fund yourself. For example, having a helper come in for an hour a day could cost approximately £7,500 per year (1), depending on where you live in the country (whereas an average figure for basic residential care is around £34,000 per year (2)).
The second is that if you remain living in your own home, the value of the property is disregarded in the financial assessment (means test) that is used by your local authority to work out how much you will have to pay towards the cost of your own care.
Having a care-needs assessment
In order to decide whether in-home care could work for you, it’s important to have a care-needs assessment. This will help to establish the best way to provide the assistance you require and will take into account your desire to remain in your own home for as long as possible, should that be the case.
The assessment is carried out by your local authority and, when it’s completed, they’ll issue you with a care plan that will detail all your needs and how they could be met.
It’s also important to take advantage of expert advice, as the UK’s care system is complicated and often difficult to navigate. Added to this, you’re likely to be working out your care options at a time in your life when you’re feeling highly stressed and emotional. In this state, people are often liable to make poor decisions.
Expert advice can help to give you a rational perspective on your situation and the possible ways forward, as well as offering guidance on how to deal with various aspects of the care system and the best way to arrange your finances to meet your needs.
We can help you through the entire process thanks to our relationship with Care Sourcer, which has extensive knowledge of the UK’s care systems.
The services provided by Care Sourcer are separate and distinct to those offered by St. James's Place.
1 Moneyadviceservice.org, 2021
2 Payingforcare.org, 2020 (Based on Laing & Buisson report 2020)