New information has been made available to guide elderly people and their families on the best way to fund senior care.

Accepting that an elderly parent needs care in their day-to-day life is often a difficult decision. It’s an emotional acceptance that they are no longer the strong, capable person they once were and a shift in responsibility to the younger generations’ shoulders. It is not only a time to consider what is the best form of care but also a time to decide how to fund the elderly care a parent needs.

For a minority of people (based on income and assets) the UK government will pay for the necessary care. However, for most people whose income and assets are above this relatively low threshold then elderly care will need to be funded privately and this can be a huge drain on family finances of not well-planned in advance.

For many families the financial concerns are just as great as the emotional concerns for a parent’s health and well-being. As people are living longer many societies with a previously good social care system can no longer cope with the burden of senior care and it is falling to families to bear that burden – families who don’t meet the criteria for state-funded assistance but may struggle to meet the high costs of elderly care. This is a particular problem when family wealth is tied up in property.

It is, therefore, essential to seek help and advice from an independent non-profit organisation such as The Live-in Care Hub or an age-related charity such as Independent Age about what the costs might be. There is also new funding advice available from the not-for-profit company Care Funding Guidance.

Exceptions to Self-Funding Elderly Care

Whilst most senior care funding decisions are based on an individual’s financial capability to self-fund there are certain situations in the UK where medical and health requirements are such that there is no means-tested assessment. Those eligible for this type of senior care known as “Continuing Healthcare” will have it paid for by the government either via paying for a residential care home place or for live-in care at home. Eligibility is based on a point score system across a number of different personal and medical needs.

It is also worth noting that some types of income, particularly related to certain disabilities, are not considered as part of a means-tested assessment regarding care funding.

Financial support

Paying for any type of senior care will always be a drain on financial resources; whether it is simply a home care assistant visiting a few times a week, a full-time live-in carer or a place in a care home. Elderly care is a looming cost for many families but one that few are well-prepared for or have made any plans at all. The best approach is to make a plan in advance, especially as people with pre-existing illnesses or disabilities start to become less able to look after themselves.