Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health | No Comments »
Getting in the party spirit, Llandudno, December 2011
You meet some interesting organisations on Twitter and recently I came across the National Benevolent Fund for the Ageing which for some 55 years has been supporting older people on low incomes. Here one of their volunteers, Rob, explains more about what they do.
Now in its 55th year, the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged (NBFA) provides practical support to older people on low incomes who feel isolated and marginalised.
Each year the NBFA organises free 5-day ‘Breaks-Away’ for about 1,000 older people who have not been on holiday for at least 3 years and who cannot afford to arrange a holiday for themselves. Each Break-Away consists of one or two coaches of older people accompanied by NFBA staff and volunteers. The many social activities provide the holiday-makers with an opportunity to make new friends and to try something new. Each week usually includes 2 or 3 outings to local beauty spots or places of interest, and every evening there is an entertainer after dinner. Thursday nights are reserved for the ever-popular fancy-dress competition and a raffle.
NBFA has recently started providing NBFA Day-Trips for older people who are potentially put-off by the length of the Breaks-Away, and an NBFA Reunion Programme to bring together participants from previous events. A participant commented: ‘Loneliness, there’s a lot of loneliness and depression and nobody helps; but on trips like this, people do help and they try to talk to each other and make friends’
NBFA helps to enhance independence and reduce the sense of vulnerability of frail older people by offering Emergency Telephone Alarms. Emergency Alarms give older people the confidence to stay in their own homes for longer and to lead more active lives without being worried if someone will come to help them if needed.
NBFA also works though Physiotherapists and GPs to provide easy to use, reliable, electrical pain relief machines free of charge to older people who would benefit.
Breaks –Away planned for Autumn 2012 include a holiday village in Bracklesham Bay in Sussex, for participants from London, and one to Bridlington, on the Yorkshire coast, for participants from the Leeds and Bradford area. Further Breaks-Away and day-trips for Spring 2013 are being planned.
If you think that you know an older person, or an agency working in this field, who might want to work with NBFA or who might benefit from one of their services, please contact the NBFA on 0207 828 0200 or look at their website at www.nbfa.org.uk
Posted: July 19th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Health, Housing, Legal - employment, Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney | No Comments »
As the soaring cost of care continues to dominate the press, legal expert David Edwards tells us what we should be thinking about when planning for care home fees and why trusts might not be the best solution.
Paying care home fees is front page news at the moment, a problem that will affect many of us, with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men likely to need long-term care.
The Government has provided some information about proposed changes including a possible limit on the amount any individual has to pay, but for those individuals who are likely to move into a nursing or care home in the near future, those changes will not come soon enough.
We all know the problem; why should an individual spend their entire life savings on paying for care home fees when, had they not been prudent and saved, the state would have provided for them?
The first thing to remember is that the present rules are not drafted for any other reason other than to save the Government money. There is in no suggestion that the rules are fair or indeed framed to encourage Government approved behaviour; the so called ‘nudge’ theory.
The most talked about way of avoiding paying for care home fees is to put your house in to a trust. We are often asked whether these trust schemes ‘work’. In other words if you put your house into a trust and then go into a home, does the trust arrangement protect the home from having to be sold to pay the nursing home fees?
The important question to ask yourself at this point is why would you want to put yourself in a position where you are at the mercy of local authority care home funding?
While protecting the family home is no doubt an attractive idea for your children or other members of the family, for you, the person who is going into the care home, it may not be an attractive prospect that you have to spend your last years in a care home that is sufficiently mediocre for its fees to be within the local authority care home fee level.
No all care homes with fee levels under the local authority limits are bad nor are all the more expensive ones good but, as with most things, you usually get what you pay for.
Speaking for myself, I want to be sure that I retain freedom to choose the care home and the quality of the care that I receive, if and when I reach that stage in life.
To answer the question do ‘trust schemes’ work, then the answer is, it depends:
If the property is put in to a care home at a time when there is no prospect of care home fees being paid, then the arrangement may well be successful.
But if the local authority can establish that the gift into the trust was made for the purpose of avoiding contributions to care home fees, then they will make an assessment on the basis that gift has not been made. That will put the elderly person in the worst possible position; they have given away the property but will still be assessed by the local authority on the basis that they still have it. There are all sorts of time scales banded around, typically six or seven years, for the ideal gap between putting the property into trust and going into the care home for the scheme to work. But, as I have indicated above, is that really the right question to ask?
The better question, if you are in the happy position of being able to afford to choose the care home for you go into and the sort of care home and facilities that you would like, is how will your care home fees be funded?
In brief summary, there are six main ways of paying for care.
1. The deferred payment scheme. In this case the local authority meets the cost of your care but on your death that money is repaid. The local authority cannot, however, charge any interest during your lifetime on the monies they have spent on fees.
2. Rent out your property. If you have a property, it may be possible to rent it out and put the rental income towards the cost of care.
3. Equity release. It may be possible to release capital or income by using the value of your property. You will usually have to pay interest on any capital or income that you do release. Normally you have to repay the debt when you move in to a care home, so an equity release can be an attractive approach if you wish to be cared in your home.
4. Cash. You may simply put your capital into a savings account and then put the interest towards the cost of care. In most cases the interest will not meet the amount you need, so you may end up having to use the capital.
5. Invest. You could look to make your capital work harder in order to produce a greater return than if it were left in cash. You need to be careful to invest in the right sort of areas as not all investments are suitable for producing a regular income stream.
6. Buy yourself an income. You could use some of your capital to buy yourself a guaranteed lifetime income payable monthly tax free. This would help to solve the care funding problem as well as to protect your remaining capital. The amount of capital needed varies according to age and health and poor health can mean a better deal for you, so the first step is to find out the specific cost for you.
It seems that whenever elderly people are involved in money, there is someone ready to take advantage. So make sure you take advice from someone you trust and who is properly regulated to give advice in this difficult area and make sure that advice includes a check on whether you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to.
This is a general note to outline the options. As always you need to take advice specific to your individual circumstances before acting or omitting to act.
You should take financial advice from a properly regulated financial advisor. My firm’s associated Chartered Financial Planning Company DKM Wealth Ltd offers independent financial advice and is regulated to advise on care home fee planning. Readers of this blog article are welcome to a FREE initial meeting to assess what options might be right for them. We also have a FREE booklet that explains this article in more detail. Please email me on email@example.com for more information.
David Edwards is Managing Partner and Head of Private Client at Burt Brill & Cardens, a well-known firm of Brighton solicitors specialising in looking after people and their businesses. For more information about David or Burt Brill & Cardens visit www.bbc-law.co.uk
Posted: July 18th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Health, Housing, Press coverage | Comments Off
I was delighted to be quoted in the report on the future of care homes, Care Home, Sweet Home, published today by the think-tank on ageing, the International Longevity Centre-UK.
“I think care homes in the future will be less about one physical building but more a network of care and support throughout the community whereby the human element of “care” will be facilitated but not replaced by technology”.
To read more about the report and how to access a copy , CLICK HERE
Posted: July 18th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health, Housing | Comments Off
BBC’s One’s “When I’m 65” Ageing season has taken us several times into the world of the care home, shining a light on those institutions which most of us would go out of our way to avoid. Most of us would prefer to live out our old age in our own homes but for some of us care homes will be where we die. Isn’t it time to re-think how these organisations work and how they can best deliver the sort of care we will all need in the future?
A new “futures” report published today by the International Longevity Centre – UK calls for a public debate on what the care homes of the future should look like, arguing that rather than closed institutions they should become ‘community hubs’, delivering a range of services under one roof or in closely integrated neighbourhoods.
Launching the report, Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said: “Our report highlights how care homes have improved over 40 years. Economic, environmental and demographic change will put increased pressure on the sector, as will the need to meet the increasing demands of the older consumer.
The care home of the future must be situated within the community it serves. Care homes should be considered less as a series of physical buildings and more as a model for delivering specialist care within a wider community. Funding models for the care home of the future must help facilitate this new community hub”.
The ILC-UK’s vision is that care homes should :
- Provide world leading quality of care
- Act as a community hub – which works with voluntary agencies and provides services to the whole community
- Make the most of technology – but not as a substitute for the human element of care
- Provide attractive careers for young and old alike – good, professional staff is seen as fundamental to this vision
- Be a beacon of environmental sustainability
Of these elements, I think the “community hub” idea is the most arresting. Up till now care homes have been institutions set apart from the community, often buttressed by leafy parkland. I remember my children being anxious about visiting a local home for their annual carol concert, afraid of what they might see.
Going into a care home, is often seen as “the end”. By bringing the care into the community, a more flexible care model can be used to allow people to remain in their own homes for longer, something that most people want but which is also considerably cheaper.
Which brings us to funding. However much the Government tries to wriggle around the issue, at some point we need to accept that care is expensive and we are going to have to pay, whether through increased taxation or more probably through some sort of direct contribution model. That being the case, we should ensure that as future consumers we are able to buy the care we want and need so as to lead good quality, happy lives. And that requires some future-thinking now.
To read the report, Care Home, Sweet Home in full, CLICK HERE
Posted: July 3rd, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Designing for the Future Competition - University of Brighton, Health, Inclusive design, Press coverage | Comments Off
"Designing for the Future" at the Mobility Roadshow 2012
We were thrilled to be asked to take part in this year’s Design Zone at the Mobility Roadshow and, in particular, to showcase projects from our “Designing for the Future” student design competition.
“Designing for the Future” which we run in conjunction with the University of Brighton is now in its third year and encourages student designers to think about the challenges and issues affecting our ageing population – and to create innovative and attractive and designs which allow older people to continue to live enjoyable, active and independent lives.
The Mobility Roadshow is an annual three day event for all things mobility related; everything from adapted vehicles and charity stands, to 4 x 4 wheelchairs and mobility scooters. This year’s Design Zone was curated by Enabled by Design and Such and Such Design who pulled together a host of new and innovative designs that can help to support people to live as independently as possible.
Hanna Mawbey's medical aids at Mobility Roadshow 2012
The Design Zone showcase is sponsored by Autoadapt and supported by the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and, as well as work from our “Designing for the Future” project, featured designs and products from Northumbria University as well as from other innovative companies and charities.