Planning for care

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    Planning for care

    Care is important. Everyone is concerned about it. Some might need it for themselves, whilst others may need to care for loved ones. In the care conundrum masterclass I host, I highlight that Bruce Willis, aged 68, is sadly suffering from dementia. This reminds us that anyone can be affected, even a ‘die-hard’.

    With a government report stating that 69% of people will spend an average of three years in long-term care (1), it is a topic that, while it may be difficult or depressing to discuss, requires appropriate planning and attention.

    The care conundrum masterclass is split into two main sections. First, I highlight how we can fund the cost of care and the different options such as, ‘pay as you go’ or using a long-term care annuity. This is an important starting point because the average cost of high-quality care is £56,000 per annum. (2)

    Under current legislation, you would be expected to pay for your care fees if your assets exceed £23,250. This, of course, depends on the assessment by your local authority, but it is safe to assume it would catch all our clients. What became clear when I was preparing for each session, was that all attendees could afford the cost of care if required. (If you are reading this and unsure if that applies to you, why not attend our next session and see for yourself?)

    The topic of care is about numbers and feelings, or “hearts and charts”, as we like to call it at Equilibrium. After demonstrating to everyone in the masterclass that they could afford care, the majority were still of the view that they would prefer not to go into a residential home. So, it made me question the old saying: “If you’ve got enough money to solve the problem… you haven’t got a problem” – but is that really the case?

    In the second part, we explore the equally important role of prevention and self-care. There are numerous studies that hope to find the key to a healthy long life. For example, fish oil (DHA & EPA) can lower the risk of cognitive decline, especially in people at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease.3 Or, if anyone has seen the recent Netflix series called “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones”, Dan Buettner focuses on five communities whose diet and way of life have helped produce the most centenarians in the world. I can assure you that all the recommended lifestyle changes are far cheaper than paying for the cost of care!

    In my experience, what tends to be a barrier for those planning around care is that we often think about the end game, nursing care. However, in my view, there are steps to consider before that.

    Step one is simply, non-health- related care at home. That is, getting assistance for day-to-day activities and chores such as housework. Too often, I see clients come in for meetings complaining of aches and pains following chores such as cleaning the gutters or painting a room when they could afford to pay someone else to do it, especially the ones we don’t enjoy or the ones which could worsen our conditions.

    Step two then looks at health- related care at home, whether that’s paying for one-to-one physiotherapy or even paying for the use of private healthcare, where expedience and necessity call for it. We discuss the merits of more traditional care planning, such as downsizing for mobility purposes or better preparing for care at home, in comparison to the ever-growing retirement village communities that are appearing across the UK. These are all valid considerations before the latter options of care at home, residential care, and nursing care.

    What is becoming increasingly clear at each masterclass is the lack of discussion between the generations of each family around their preference of care. Some have had the difficult experience of having to care for their own parents and navigate through the system without prior knowledge of their parent(s) preferences.

    Many people are adamant about receiving care at home as opposed to going in a home. Some see it as a tradition for children to look after their parents when care is required, while others would prefer professionals in their home. So, I leave you with two questions: “What does your care plan look like?” and “Do your children know what it looks like?”
    What is essential with a topic as sensitive as this, is that it’s not just about the financial aspect. It is crucial to have open conversations with your loved ones, clearly outlining your wishes and needs for the future (see Letters of love).

    If you’re facing the challenges of the ‘Care conundrum’, join our mailing list to be notified about upcoming masterclasses here.

    This article is intended as an informative piece and should not be construed as advice. 

    (1) “How much care will you need?” –
    (2) Age UK- paying for a care home
    (3) “The secret to great health? Escaping the healthcare matrix” – page 10, source 29 (McKinsey Health Institute)

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