According to The Office of National Statistics, the UK population is currently at 66.4 million. In 50 years’ time, there is projected to be an additional 8.2 million people aged 65 years and over in the UK. This represents a population roughly the size of present-day London. This would take the UK’s 65 years and over age group to 20.4 million people and account for 26.4% of the projected population.
Clearly, we are an ageing society and parts of the care system are already struggling under pressure. Fortunately, the live-in care sector is growing and thriving as demand increases.
With these facts and figures, it seems even more pertinent that we should be talking more and planning for later life. Circumstances can quickly change too, and regardless of age. A sudden illness, accident, or life-changing medical event can throw everything up in the air. This is why it is so important to detail your wishes. How do you wish to be cared for? You need to detail this before your relatives or medical professionals have to decide for you if you lose capacity or are in an accident, for example.
We understand that this can all feel a bit overwhelming. Even if you are ready to start planning ahead. In fact, that is the reason so many people put off planning altogether. It can also be daunting thinking about yourself in later years, but your later stages of life can be just as enjoyable as your life is now, just in a different way. This is especially true if you plan well.
A few things to think about…
What do YOU want?
If you have children, a partner or close friends, needing care in later life is something that affects everybody in some way. It is good to therefore have a conversation and also detail your wishes.
Many people find talking to their children hard, because the topic may seem a bit ‘morbid’. However, you don’t necessarily need to have a talk, you can record them with a My Last Request subscription.
Children (and this goes for your wider family and friends too), often want to know their parents will be protected and happy in later life. They want to know what their parents wishes are with regards to the care they would like in later life, or after traumatic circumstances.
Discussing with others can also help you decide on the right option. You may also need help finding advice or information.
Financing your care
Care in later life can be expensive and cost a lot of money in the long-term. With Government cuts and reduced local budgets, it is important to consider how you will fund your choice of care. There is funding available (if you qualify), and then any money you have saved.
The savings threshold for 2018/2019 differs depending on which part of the country you live:
Northern Ireland £23,250
Your ability to pay for UK care will be determined through a means test, called a Care Needs Assessment.
If the amount of money you have saved (along with your income) totals over £23,250, then you will not be entitled to any financial help. If your capital and income are above this, it is likely that you will need to pay your own care fees.
If your savings and income fall below the £23,250 amount, you might be entitled to help from your local authority, but you may still have to contribute something.
Your property will not be included if you’re arranging care and support at home. And may not be included if you live with a partner, child, or a relative who is disabled or over the age of 60.
Anyone classed as having ongoing and substantial care needs could be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare funding.
For example, Alzheimer’s patients with intense and unpredictable care needs, or someone who is recovering from a stroke in their own home following a period in hospital, may be eligible.
We hope this has provided some food for thought. Peace of mind in later life is important and only what you deserve. There will be some decisions to be made, but with the right information and support you can align your values and preferences with the care options you have.