When to start thinking about the need for additional assistance at home or in care is different for everyone. For some people the decision is as a result of a medical condition or hospital admission but for others more fortunate, plans can be made far in advance.
If you are part of the decision making process you can give advance thought to whether you would prefer to remain in your own home or not.
Care at home
If you decide that you wish to stay at home you will need to consider whether any modifications to your house are going to be needed. You can plan to make these changes at your own pace.
You may need additional support from others helping you out in your home. There is a huge range of services available to encourage an independent life at home ranging from dog walking and shopping to 24 hour nursing care. There is also assistance available through various charitable organisations based in your local area. We do not promote any particular organisation but we do have experience of a number of different providers and are happy to talk matters through with you. You should be aware, however, that costs can be high depending on the level of support that you opt for.
Care in a residential or nursing home
Your Local Authority Social Work Department will carry out an assessment which may conclude that you are fit to stay in your own home, with in-house support. Alternatively, it may be that you need to look for a residential facility. You are free to choose your own private care option and there are a lot to choose from. You can shop around for an alternative home whether that is a private bungalow, sheltered accommodation or care facility. If you are not fortunate enough to have time to make arrangements and a decision has to be made quickly it is still important to get as much information as possible so an informed choice can be made.
It is important to note that all care homes are subject to the national care standards. We would encourage you to visit a home before coming to your final decision on a move there. Some homes will have an admission policy which requires you to be able to “self-fund” for a particular period. At the end of that period what happens will depend on the agreement is in place with the home, the individual and the Local Authority.
The Local Authorities position
The Scottish Government continues to fund free personal care for those aged 65 and over who have been assessed as needing this by the Local Authority Social Work Department. To take advantage of this, the allowance has to be paid through a Local Authority approved agency and the same applies to a residential or nursing home.
There are three elements to care home costs:
- accommodation costs;
- personal care costs, and;
- nursing care costs.
If funding is to be sought (and there is no obligation to do so), a financial assessment will be carried out by the Local Authority and arranging this is a crucial first step. This assesses all of your assets, including your home, but protection is available to spouses who still live there. The Local Authority has powers to review any transfers of your own assets which appear to have been made deliberately to avoid being caught by that assessment and the value of earlier transfers may be still taken into account for the purposes of calculating what funding is available to you. It can be a daunting time for the individual concerned and for the family involved as some of the issues being addressed are not only complex financially, but emotionally as well.