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How should I pay a home carer?

Care at home is an excellent way for a much-loved family member to maintain their independence. However, before a personal care package can be designed for your loved one, it is essential to work out how to pay for their specialist needs.

Deciding to what degree, and by whom, a home care service will be funded is not always straightforward. In this article, we explore the different options available for elderly care and how you may be able to fund them.

The first step in exploring funding options is to look into socially funded care. To do this, your loved one will have to fill out a Care Needs Assessment. A Care Needs Assessment enables officials to assess your eligibility for financial support. This support could wholly or partly fund elderly care services.

The eligibility criteria for social care financial support.

Specialist council staff gather information on your loved ones:

– Capital (including property*, shares, bonds)

– Savings (in all bank or building society accounts, credit unions etc.)

– Income (from pensions, property rental fees, any work undertaken)

*If your loved one is seeking care at home, rather than a care home, then the value of their home will not be included.

The current thresholds

Any person with a combined total capital, savings and income of less than £14,250 may only have to make a small token payment towards care costs.

Those with a final figure between £14,250 and £23,250 are likely to have to contribute £1 per £250 they have in capital and savings between the two thresholds.

Those with capital and savings, which amount to more than £23,250 can expect to pay for all or most of their at-home care costs. This is until they drop below the next lowest threshold.

The commonplace scenario

Many older people fall into either the first or the second category, with the value of the pension they receive often being the critical factor in whether they’ll get state support to cover the cost of care.

In these cases, your loved one can expect some offers of support from social services, but exactly how this manifests can differ between regions of the country.

It is quite common for social services to create a cut-off point for funded home care – so it’s really important to get home care that costs the best possible rate. For example, suggesting residential care as another alternative, should your family member require more than three or four visits from home carers per day.

However, following this advice is not your only option. The option of having a live-in caregiver is disregarded by many as unaffordable. However, Elder provide affordable live-in carers in a location close to you.

Colin and Dulcie’s story

Dulcie is 102-years-old and lives with her son Colin, his wife Mary, and her Carer Sarah. She has dementia and has had full-time live-in care for over two years.

We talk to the family about the challenges of finding the right care solution for

a fiercely independent woman – and how the positive benefits of live-in care with Sarah has transformed all of their lives.

Living with Live in Care: Dulcie's Story

Checking all benefits have been claimed

Your loved one may be entitled to benefits. These benefits do not take income or savings into account, so it is always worth checking if they are entitled to the following: Attendance Allowance (AA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Although the eligibility criteria are quite strict, those with severe health issues could also qualify for NHS Continuing Health Care (NHS CHC) cash. This can be used to help cover costs for care in your loved one’s own home.

You’re eligible if your loved one’s need is deemed to be primarily medical. However, despite campaigning by the Alzheimer’s Society, this doesn’t currently include funding for dementia care.

A further care funding option to explore

It is important that you ask social services for details of the ‘Direct Payment’ scheme that every local council can award.

This involves a care assessment of your relative, followed by a budget award to help with the care package – which you are allowed to source yourself.

The funds paid in this way could range from £50 to £1000 a week. While this may not cover all costs, it may help you and your loved one make the right choice of support needed.

If you’re looking to arrange care with Elder, this is probably the best state funding option to use.

An option for homeowners to consider

If your loved one owns their own home, another option is to take out a lifetime mortgage. This mortgage offers part of the equity held in a property to help fund the cost of live-in carers.

These schemes are designed to avoid negative equity, and provide either a lump sum, a monthly income, or smaller lump sums as and when they are requested. However, you should obviously be aware that the interest paid on such schemes is another cost to consider when it comes to home care.

As discussed, there are numerous routes to explore when it comes to paying for a home carer. We’re here to help if you need further advice so please do get in touch.

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