03/09/2021 by Kim Stevens 0 Comments
Paying For Care At Home
The idea that our elderly loved ones can live out their twilight years in the home that they love, while having all of their needs taken care of, is a wonderful one. Care at home means no need to worry about them being in an unfamiliar environment, or spending days or even longer without having someone to talk to. Their personal care is looked after, their meals taken care of...and all by professionals who will become friends, and who have a passion for caring for others as they would take care of their own loved ones.
When it comes to looking after our loved ones as they age, I think most people would agree that some variation of at home care would be the preferred option.
But what are your options when it comes to paying for these services?
Care In Kent have put together this handy guide that will tell you all that you need to know about paying for at-home care - from local authority support, to self-funding.
What Is At Home Care, And How Is It Paid For?
At home care is everything I’ve already described and more. It is a way to support and help older people who may have difficulty with daily tasks (such as washing and dressing), to stay in their own homes and retain their independence for as long as possible.
Care At Home, often known as domiciliary care, can be paid for in the following ways:
Local Authority Funding
subject to a means test, the local council will fund either all or part of the care.
Either the person who needs care, or their family, pay for either all or part of the care.
In some circumstances the NHS will cover all or part of the care costs.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at those options:
Local Authority Funding
In order to find out if you or your elderly loved one is eligible for support for care from the local authority, they will carry out a free needs assessment. If you’re seen to have ‘eligible needs’ there will then be a financial assessment which will determine how much you need to contribute towards the cost of at home care.
The financial assessment will take into account any savings or assets you have. If you have more than the threshold limit, you’ll have to pay for your own care.
These limits as of 2021 and heading into 2022 are:
Scotland and Northern Ireland
There is no means testing for personal care in Scotland in Northern Ireland. Personal care at home is free for those who have been assessed as eligible by their local authority.
If you qualify for funding for at home care, you’ll most likely be offered a personal budget, allocated by the council towards your care needs. It’s really important to find out which benefits you are entitled to, this will help you to make the best care arrangement choices for yourself or a loved one.
There are several circumstances where you would be expected to fund your own care at home.
- If your care needs aren’t found to be sufficient for local authority funding
- If your income is high enough that you can cover your own care costs without taking you below the minimum income threshold
- If your savings and assets are above the threshold for care funding - this DOESN’T include the value of your home
There are circumstances where the NHS will pay for your care at home costs - for example if an older person has complicated care needs due to a disability, injury or illness. This isn’t means tested, and is part of the NHS Continuing Healthcare scheme.
If an elderly loved one has had a short stay in hospital they could be eligible for up to 6 weeks of free at home care. Click the link for NHS Intermediate Care to find out more.
Why You Should Still Get An Assessment, Even If You Don’t Qualify For Financial Support
Even if you know that combined savings, earnings and assets are going to mean that you or a loved one isn’t going to be eligible for local authority funding, it’s still very much worthwhile getting an assessment.
- It will provide a formal recognition of your loved one’s needs
- It’s important to have an assessment in case your needs change in the future
- You’ll be able to more easily access information about the services available
- Your local authority can still arrange care services for you - you’ll just have to pay for the full price of the care yourself).
If you do have to pay for at home care yourself, there are some ways that you can raise funds to help.
- Using savings and investments
- Using income from property, work, pensions
- Have a proper look into what benefits you’re entitled to
- If you own your own home you could release some equity and ‘unlock’ some of the cash from the value of your property
- Selling your home and downsizing to smaller one could provide you with a lump sum to help pay for at home care
- Financial help from family or friends
- Raise extra money for your care by letting a room to a lodger
Self-funding might not have to be a permanent solution. You’ll qualify for local authority funding once your assets drop below the specified threshold.
Regardless of how you are able to pay for at home care, Care In Kent are always on hand to discuss a full range of services for caring for older adults, including respite care, help with personal care, running errands, or even just lending a friendly ear.