Options for the Future

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According to the 2011 census approximately one in five adults live in a care home, a decrease from the 23% that lived in care homes according to the 2001 census.

Choosing the appropriate accommodation for later life is key, and will be based on the resident’s needs (or priorities), and in some cases how it is being funded. Some schemes run by housing associations will be subsidised. Others run by private organisations may be much more expensive.Some schemes in popular locations may even have a waiting list! So it is a good idea to be thinking about this sooner rather than later. The more time you have to plan for your future life, the more likely you are able to make an appropriate decision. A visit is crucial – it is an opportunity to investigate what it is really like, what services are being offered, and how likely it is that those services will continue, or be withdrawn in the future.

There are four main options available: retirement housing, Sheltered accommodation, community care and care homes.

Retirement housing is particularly common in the United States, and usually consists of a number of self-contained units purpose built and can be either flats or houses. Most can be purchased, but there will normally be a condition that the owner and at least one of the residents must be over a particular age – often 60 or 65, but sometimes as low as 55. There may be some communal facilities and activities organised.

Sheltered accommodation is very similar to retirement housing, however there will usually be additional warden support, an alarm system and they are more likely to have communal facilities and services.

As a rule, neither of these schemes will provide care, nor help with cleaning or shopping. These will need to be arranged privately, if they cannot be carried out by the resident themselves.

Community care will usually involve being looked after in a person’s own home. Following an assessment by social services, the person’s needs will be determined and a decision made as to whether the person qualifies to receive a service, and a care plan will be produced. A care manager will usually be appointed who will also carry out formal reviews usually on an annual basis.

Ultimately if a person is not able to live on their own and/or community care is not available or appropriate, they will need to move into a care home. Some homes will cater more for people with nursing needs than others. There is a wide choice of homes, but the most important factor is whether the care home will meet the person’s assessed needs, as well as availability. Again a visit is incredibly important.

If you need help to navigate this minefield, or would like advice on other later life issues, please contact Charles Fraser in our Private Client team.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.