23rd March 2016
Making decisions on care for elderly relatives is rarely straightforward, as there are a minefield of different options and funding considerations.
Where an elderly person lacks mental capacity, the process of moving them into care can be particularly challenging. If they have already made a lasting power of attorney while they had mental capacity, this will help. There are two types of lasting power of attorney:
If there is no lasting power of attorney in place, it could be necessary to ask the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy. This will enable a designated person to make decisions for the elderly person in the way an attorney could, or for the court to make a one-off decision on behalf of the individual.
Depending on the level of their assets and income, your relative may have to contribute towards their care home fees and in some cases fund their own fees in their entirety.
If your relative qualifies for local authority funding, the local authority has a responsibility to carry out a needs assessment and prepare a care plan. If your relative would like to move to a care home that is more expensive than the funding amount they will receive, a family member can pay the difference by way of a ‘top-up’ fee.
NHS continuing healthcare funding is available in some circumstances to cover healthcare costs, including the full cost of residential care. If you think your relative fulfills the criteria and they are turned down, there is an appeal process you can invoke including having an independent assessment carried out.
NHS-funded nursing care may also be available. This provides for a set amount of funding towards specific nursing costs each week, but does not cover the full cost of residential nursing care.
Once your loved one is in care, their health or mental capacity may begin to deteriorate, and you may need to be more involved in making decisions for them. Without a lasting power of attorney you would not be included in making decisions about their daily care routine, such as diet, dressing and bathing, as well as decisions about medical treatment and life-sustaining interventions.
More often than not, when a person goes into care their home needs to be sold. You will only be able to manage this on their behalf if you have a financial affairs power of attorney or deputyship order in place.
When an elderly relative goes into care, it is an appropriate time to get them to make or review their will to reflect any changes in circumstances.
For a confidential discussion on planning for your elderly relative’s future contact Stephen Myers on 01782 525007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice, and the law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.