What’s Your Care Destiny?
If only we had a magic wand - we’d use it to encourage all people over 60 to consider their potential future care needs whilst they are still relatively young and healthy.
We honestly believe that care and its associated fees should be viewed as more mainstream and tackled alongside all the other aspects of financial planning that can crop up in retirement. It’s much easier to do something proactively and in advance, rather than waiting until there is a point of crisis.
We say this because one of us has reached the 60+ landmark, we’re not daunted but ageing does change your outlook and peer experiences.
The point was highlighted again this weekend. Towards the end of a fabulous evening with friends at home; you know the scenario, flickering candles, discarded napkins, too many empty wine bottles, cheeses cut, port sipped, coffee brewed and dark chocolate mint wrappers being scrunched by everyone into little silver and green balls.
It was at this point that someone stealthily brought the conversation around to how worried they were about their mum.
Although mum is still healthy and living totally independently they’d noticed a change. She’d stopped spending her money, cutting down on food, holidays, clothes, meals out and other luxuries as she wanted to save funds just in case she needed care at an unknown point in the future.
Given our day jobs, we often get asked about care funding and have long held the view that there’s no time like the present to tackle this sensitive subject head on, treating it like any other financial eventuality.
Putting firm plans in place now will ensure that we can all stay in control of our own care destiny, even if our physical health and/or mental capabilities are reduced when the time comes.
We believe we should throw away the old rule book and start again. If we need care in later life then so be, it, we'll celebrate the fact that we've been allowed a grand and long life.
Our message then is clear, don’t fear it, let’s all view the prospect of needing care as just another life cycle, a positive implication of getting on a bit. In no particular order, we’d suggest:
Visit Care Homes
We all need to radically change our perceptions of care homes. For the most part, gone forever are the plastic high-backed chairs forming inner circles of doom, melancholy and loneliness. In their place are coffee houses, cake stalls, wine bars, surround-sound cinemas, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, chauffeur driven cars, restaurants and above all freedom to live safely.
Either just pitch up, you can tell a lot about a home by the way it welcomes unexpected visitors or book in for coffee and cake.
Involve your nearest Symponia Adviser
There’s no getting away from the fact that at around £1,000 per week care fees may seem expensive and could appear insurmountable to many, but with pre-planning, a known and controllable care future is within many people’s grasps.
Make your mantra “I’ll aim to purchase the care I want, not the care I think I can afford.”
Rethink Your Property
There are lots of scary stories in the media, usually focusing on how unfair the sale of property is once the owner needs care. Is it a forever castle or a future currency? Seriously, who wants to maintain an empty house?
If you need to move into care, alter your perceptions, don’t stress the eventual sale if you no longer need it as a home, simply regard it as just another form of currency - and a very powerful one at that. The money tied up in property can have a huge influence over the choice of care; where, when and how it is delivered.
Create Your Own Blueprint
After you’ve visited a care home (or two) meet with your chosen Symponia adviser
Look at all the aspects
- how will I/we be able to pay for the care I want
- what state benefits might I/we be able to claim
- have I/we planned and paid for my funeral
- is my/our property owned in the most appropriate way
- if a couple, are our assets divided equally
- should I/we involve family members
- how can I ensure my/our wishes will be known and followed
- Is my/our will up to date
Store your Blueprint
Do tell a family member, solicitor or doctor about it then go to enjoy the rest of your later life knowing you’ve tackled your potential care destiny well in advance
Review the document if/when legislation or your own circumstances change