In client meetings, I often ask the question: “Have you thought about a long-term care plan?”, which is usually met with a wavering: “No, not really.” When I probe further as to why, the most common responses are: “I’m too young”, “it’s too depressing”, “the cost of care is too much”, or, for the idealists, “I’m waiting for the government to fund my care.”
People often associate long-term care with being in a care home, a loss of independence, no longer able to make your own decisions or walk without help.
However, I ask this question with good reason. My job, as a financial planner, is to provoke thought, challenge existing thinking and help my clients create a personalised action plan. In doing so, they can begin to take control, make choices, put pen to paper and even open up courageous conversations with family members about their wishes for the future.
Care comes in many forms. And we have more control and choice than we might think…
It doesn’t necessarily have to be health-related
Your life could be made easier by having extra support at home, such as taking on a gardener or cleaner.
Invest in self-care
With NHS waiting lists for routine treatment at an all-time high(1), a private GP not only resolves any discomfort or pain a lot more swiftly, but also saves months/ years of unhappiness or anxiety and you get to see the same person each time – kind of like having a family GP again!
Personal training, regular physiotherapy, yoga, or Pilates aren’t just good for maintaining your figure as we get older. New research shows that physical activity could help strengthen your immune system, is helpful to brain health and keeps you more independent.(2)
Did you know the regular use of saunas at high temperatures can decrease the risk of dementia by as much as 66%?(3)
A nutritionist can provide a fountain of knowledge on supplements such as fish oil (DHA and EPA), proven in studies to lower the risk of cognitive decline.(4)
Downsizing your home has the added benefits of lowering energy bills, less maintenance, discovering a new area, a fresh mindset and it may be better suited to your needs. David Wilson Homes even wrote a blog about it! (5)
For many people in later life, social interactions can be few and far between. It’s not uncommon for people to go to the supermarket just to secure a two-way conversation. A retirement village is an ideal solution for anyone feeling lonely or isolated, catering for retirees looking to unwind and relax with those of a similar age, whilst providing a property of their own to spend time in. Renting is, in fact, becoming increasingly popular as it offers flexibility and the chance to free up equity.(6) See our related article on Retirement villages: the balance of cost and comfort.
For those who require additional support, a care needs assessment is the first step to determining the level of help needed, whether this means adapting your home, moving into a residential care home (providing support for day-to-day tasks such as getting dressed) or a nursing home (for the provision of 24-hour medical care).
I remind my clients that it is at this point you will be thankful you have your Power of Attorneys already in place so that your wishes can be followed.
We also recommend penning a ‘Letter of Love’, so the ones closest to you know, in no uncertain terms, how you would like to be cared for in the future. See our related article on Letters of love.
At Equilibrium, we start the plan with you, by asking what will give you peace of mind about the future. We will take you through the “retirement income curve”, showing you how your income needs are likely to change following retirement. We can help you make those later-life financial decisions using cash-flow modelling, showing a projection of your finances, based on income and likely expenditure. For example, when your care costs increase, your spending on holidays, cars or dining out will likely decrease.
Any shortfalls in meeting long- term care costs can be funded by products such as immediate care annuities, providing reassurance that your family won’t be left to pay.
And our horizon planning process will ensure you have the right money at the right time.
Our commitment to your wellbeing doesn’t stop there: we even have our own client “care” community, where others are willing to share their experiences of the “care conundrum.”
Find out more
To gain further insights and guidance on The care conundrum, register your interest for the masterclass here.
This article is intended as an informative piece and does not constitute advice. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you’re a client you can reach us on 0161 486 2250 or by getting in touch with your usual Equilibrium contact. For all new enquiries please call 0161 383 3335.
(1) Data from NHS England.
(2) Sport Sciences for Health.
(4) National Library of Medicine.
(5) DWH – Is downsizing to a smaller home for you?