Dementia can have an overwhelming impact on a family’s finances. As many as 750,000 families are caring for a loved one with dementia in the UK, and many of these are not eligible for the financial help they need. Of all the people who receive care, 41 per cent have to fund this themselves. It is likely that the same percentage applies to those who need Alzheimer’s care.
If your loved one has dementia, it is possible that most of the care needs they have would be classed as social care needs rather than healthcare needs. This means that if they have assets, including the value of their property, of over £23,250, they will be responsible for paying for their own care.
The annual cost of care for someone living with dementia in a residential care or nursing home can be between £30,000 and £80,000, so private live-in care may make financial sense as well as giving your loved one the best quality of life. In a care home, the flow of many different staff can interrupt the continuity of care a person with dementia needs.
Traditional domiciliary in-home care can work out to be quite expensive. You may need to pay separately for things such as meals on wheels or transport to appointments that would be included in a live-in care arrangement. In the traditional model, a caregiver visits your loved one at predetermined times to carry out care tasks. This can include help with getting up, going to bed, washing or eating.
The main disadvantage is that the care recipient does not have the companionship that is provided with 24/7 care and that they can be left alone for long periods of time. This may mean that they are at risk of injury and does not give you the same peace of mind as Alzheimer’s care from a live-in carer.
The cost of live-in care from a private care provider can start from as little as £795 a week. This model provides one-to-one support and companionship for your loved one from a carer who has been carefully matched with the care recipient.
People living with dementia usually benefit from remaining in familiar surroundings. Independent living in their own home is the ideal option, as long as they have the proper professional care, support and companionship.
You need to bear in mind that if a person stays in their own home the usual living costs will also still apply. They will need to ensure the property is properly maintained and pay for items such as fuel, insurance and groceries on top of their private care fees. If your loved one has a car, insuring it for the live-in carer is another expense to consider.
When a person is living in their own home, its value is disregarded in considering eligibility for help from the local authority in paying for private care. If a person goes into long-term residential or nursing home care, their property would normally have to be sold and the proceeds put towards the fees.
“Judith is absolutely lovely and you could see the fantastic relationship she has with my mum. My mum’s smile nearly lit up the whole house when Judith arrived.”
It is worth arranging a free assessment from the social services department of the local authority. This will help to identify what care your loved one needs and will help when arranging care at home for them. You could then request a means test if you believe your loved one might be eligible for financial assistance and has assets of less than £23,250.
If your relative needs dementia care you should first ensure that they are receiving the attendance allowance benefit. This is tax-free and is not means-tested. It will give them a weekly amount of £47.80 to £71.40, depending on their level of need.
If your loved one does not have enough savings to pay for dementia care, there are various ways of meeting the cost including investing in a lifetime annuity or through an equity release scheme.
If you decide that the best support for your loved one is to arrange for a live-in carer, the private care provider you choose will be able to advise you on the specific costs. They will also be able to give you advice on the best way to fund your loved one’s care.
Get to grips with the essentials of dementia – from symptoms to treatments – and how best to support your loved one if they're diagnosed, with expert advice from award-winning dementia specialist Beth Britton.
Discover the true cost of care and explore your funding options with our comprehensive guide that covers everything from financial assistance to the costs of different types of care.
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