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Help Needed On Avoiding Care Fees

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  • lisyloo
    lisyloo Posts: 29,739 Forumite
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    My dad passed away last year leaving my 73 yr old mum in their mortgage free house.

    Would it be suitable for your mother to downsize?
    I guess it depends on how active she is.
    Our folks downsized to a small flat at age 74 (although their mobility wasn't great). As well as smaller bills, less cleaning and maintenance, they have a lot of company and activities in their block of flats.
    They released some equity and they have been able to enjoy a number of holidays and buy a new car.

    It is illegal to deliberately deprive yourself of assets to avoid paying care home fees (not suggesting you are doing that).
    Unlike one of the other posters who stated 10 years, I don't believe there is any time limit for this (and I did see a case that went back 18 years).

    However there is nothing at all to stop your mother enjoying holidays and spending some money whilst she can enjoy it.

    We take our folks on holiday each year and I would thoroughly recommend doing this sort of thing whilst she is able.
    We never expected my arthritic mother-in-law to get in a Gondola in Venice but it's suprising what can be acheived with a bit of help.
    They now have some wonderful memories to look back on.
    Even immobile people can enjoy holidays to places like a cruise to the Norweigian Fjords which has a great deal of coastal scenery to enjoy even if you stay on the ship.

    Encourage her to enjoy it while she can.
    None of us know how long we've got, but at her age, her health and mobility could restrict her in future years, so encourage her to do what she wants NOW.
    Also if you want to do anything for her then do it NOW and don't end up wishing you did after she's gone.

    When our folks are gone we will be upset but I hope we will be consoled with wonderful memories and the fact that we did everything we could for them when they were alive.

    I am also a taxpayer but I appreciate that many of the older generation have worked very hard in worse condition and often for longer than many of us.
    I started work at 22 after graduation and work in very pleasant office conditions. It wasn't like that for many of the older generation.
  • margaretclare
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    Lisyloo, I totally agree with your suggestions.

    I've heard, and read, several times now - someone is widowed, maybe only in late 50s, early 60s, or as this lady, early 70s, and immediately following the bereavement, funeral, wake, starts worrying about the house and the possibility of going into care. Offspring is then worried about loss of 'inheritance', a word I dislike
    intensely because there is no inheritance until someone dies and even then, no one has a God-given right to expect one!

    DH and I both worked from age 16 to 67 and yes, we did work in worse conditions, although less worse than the previous generation to us, and so it goes on. I have certainly never scrubbed floors on hands and knees as my mother did, but I've done some quite unpleasant jobs in nursing without gloves to protect my hands. And we are still paying taxes, not much income tax now but still a little bit, and all the other taxes everyone pays.

    I agree, make memories now, give flowers now rather than put them on her grave, the time to live is NOW!

    Margaret
    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • Iguana
    Iguana Posts: 1,781 Forumite
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    Iguana wrote: »
    Home care is means tested on income and savings, property isn't taken into account. The amount you pay will depend on where you live.

    Just to make it clear: where you live relates to where in the country you live - not the type of property.

    I realise people can missread things that are posted.

    For example if you receive personal care in Scotland as part of a home care package you will not pay for this it will be free in Scotland (for the personal care aspect), if you need practical assistance ie: assistance with shopping or housework then it will be chargeable (that applies to Scotland).
  • Errata
    Errata Posts: 38,230 Forumite
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    Vert few older people need residential care, and more and more gizmos and gadgets are coming onto the market which give support to people who wish to continue to live in their own homes.
    I had an interesting conversation last week with an elderly lady who had no option other than to move into residential care. Her house was being put up for sale to pay for her care and when I asked her how she felt about that she said " But I only paid a few thousands for it years ago, so now that it's worth nearly £200k - that's all free money really, isn't it" Must say I had to agree with her.
    .................:)....I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on ...:)
  • ceridwen
    ceridwen Posts: 11,547 Forumite
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    I agree with SavvySue.

    My first husband and I moved from a 3-storey Pennine cottage to a1930s bungalow near the north bank of the Thames, that was in 1990 and he died 18 months later. In the last 10 years my present husband and I have spent time, money, thought and effort in making the place as user-friendly as possible. We got rid of the bath in favour of a shower-unit, a planned programme of home improvements carried out over the years. There's very little remains to be done. This summer when I was on crutches from a fractured pelvis, I was soooooo glad we'd done all that.

    Yes, there is means-testing for any care at home, based on your income and amount of savings, but not on value of your home. The only time value of your home comes into the equation is if/when you can no longer live at home and need to go and live somewhere else i.e. a care home.

    While in A&E I was offered 'someone to come in and help you get up, washed, dressed etc' and I said 'thanks but no thanks'. I managed very well with my husband's help. Had I been alone, my income level meant that I'd have been better phoning one of the local care agencies and arranging this myself rather than having a social worker coming in to tell me what I needed. This is my outlook on life, and it will continue until I lose my marbles entirely.

    This type of query about 'saving my inheritance' has come up time, and time, and time again.

    Best wishes

    Margaret

    It is not a question of "inheritance" - not in my mind anyway. In my own case, the money tied-up in my house is going to go to charity anyway - no question of it being anyone's "inheritance". BUT.... its MY money .. so it will go where I decide it will... not the Government, not anyone else. It is MY decision. So - there simply wont be any question of my ever going into a nursing home - let the Government nick my money that I had to struggle so hard for??? No chance whatsoever! - over my dead body - literally! I will continue to live in my own home till the day I die - no matter what! Then at least I will have the satisfaction of "sitting up on a cloud playing my harp" thinking "made sure of that one - I decided where my money went then!"

    Quite frankly - I think it is appalling that because one spends ones money one way (on a house) - rather than another (ie just plain blowing it on wine, women and song - or, in my case - wine, men and song) that the Government should feel entitled to grab it. Its almost as if they think people go into old peoples homes for a pastime - I rather thought people only went in there because their health meant they werent up to looking after themselves.
  • margaretclare
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    ceridwen wrote: »
    It is not a question of "inheritance" - not in my mind anyway. In my own case, the money tied-up in my house is going to go to charity anyway - no question of it being anyone's "inheritance". BUT.... its MY money .. so it will go where I decide it will... not the Government, not anyone else. It is MY decision. So - there simply wont be any question of my ever going into a nursing home - let the Government nick my money that I had to struggle so hard for??? No chance whatsoever! - over my dead body - literally! I will continue to live in my own home till the day I die - no matter what! Then at least I will have the satisfaction of "sitting up on a cloud playing my harp" thinking "made sure of that one - I decided where my money went then!"

    But it IS a question of inheritance because that is what people say - that was what was written at the beginning of this thread, and of other similar threads.
    Quite frankly - I think it is appalling that because one spends ones money one way (on a house) - rather than another (ie just plain blowing it on wine, women and song - or, in my case - wine, men and song) that the Government should feel entitled to grab it. Its almost as if they think people go into old peoples homes for a pastime - I rather thought people only went in there because their health meant they werent up to looking after themselves.

    I can't imagine why you think that this money goes to the Government! It goes to pay for the care you get, the board-and-lodging, the meals. I don't know of anywhere else that people expect to live free, but this is a frequently-raised topic.

    Margaret
    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • Errata
    Errata Posts: 38,230 Forumite
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    You know Margaret, I think you and I were born in the wrong time!

    Some people today believe that the state should be responsible for funding their children's upbringing, rather than an absent parent, and many believe the state should fund their bed/board/support when they're elderly.

    Can't figure it out myself, but there again I was born in an age when both parents took responsibility for meeting the needs of their offspring and if gran or grandad couldn't manage on their own they moved in with their familiy.
    Or else a poor benighted daughter who hadn't manage to find a bloke to marry her got stiffed with it! But that's another story.
    .................:)....I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on ...:)
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,263 Forumite
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    Offspring is then worried about loss of 'inheritance', a word I dislike
    intensely because there is no inheritance until someone dies and even then, no one has a God-given right to expect one!
    To be fair, in this case the OP appeared to be saying that her mother was worried about not being able to leave the inheritance she wanted, rather than the daughter fearing that what she was banking on getting would be swallowed up in care home fees.

    I am sure it is part of the grieving process for some people to worry about things - and some people worry more than others anyway! The OP may or may not be able to reassure Mum and persuade her to look at staying in her own home, since she doesn't appear to WANT to go into a care home.

    I'm quite sure that if my Dad dies before my Mum, she'll have her name down for the local home within a very short space of time - she certainly doesn't intend to stay on in their present home on her own, for which I'm very grateful as it's FAR too big. One would suggest downsizing, but they've done that once - to a four bedroom house with 2 bathrooms but no walk-in shower! - and I don't think Dad could contemplate the stress of house-buying and selling again.

    HOWEVER, my mission will be to persuade her not to do anything in a hurry: they already go to the local home several days a week for their lunch and afternoon activities, but living there 24/7 is quite different, and she needs to think through the implications of that.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • margaretclare
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    Hi all

    Errata, your response above made me smile. It was fairly common practice in some families to plan that the least-beautiful daughter of the family would be the one to take on the care of mum and dad in their declining years, as well as being the helpful auntie to her siblings as they brought up their families. 'Not the pretty one' was assumed to be the lifelong spinster and it all fell to her. A daughter, naturally - not a son!!!

    SavvySue, you're right, it could be part of the grieving process, it could be the need to find something else to worry about, all sorts of things like that, it's amazing how often this type of topic comes up and often it's in relation to a newly-bereaved widow.

    Neither DH nor I intend to stay here if/when one of us is left alone - the memories would be too painful. I had thought of sheltered accommodation back where I came from originally, Nidderdale in Yorkshire. DH says a bedsit somewhere will be fine, he doesn't need much, and it's true - give him his computer and he could live in a monk's cell.

    I won't be on here much after today because I'm having my first cataract operation this afternoon and DH has warned me that until both eyes get done, he found it difficult using the computer. So good luck to all!

    Best wishes

    Margaret
    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • seven-day-weekend
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    Good luck with your operation Margaret! We will all be here awaiting your words of wisdom when you are able to return to the forum (which I hope won't be too long).

    xxxx
    (AKA HRH_MUngo)
    Member #10 of £2 savers club
    Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology: Terry Eagleton
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