The term long term care is used to describe care provided to individuals to help with everyday activities such as eating, bathing and dressing, either due to age, disability or illness. This care may be required and provided either at home or in a care home.
Need for care can vary and, in some cases, can arise suddenly because of an accident or illness such as a stroke, but more typically only develops gradually with age.
Whilst care may be initially provided by family, as needs increase, you may need some professional help, either at home (so called domiciliary care) or in a care home when it also becomes expensive.
Domiciliary care refers to care received in your own home designed to help you, the person needing care, to remain living independently for as long as possible. It can be provided either by the local authority, or more common private carers.
Initially you may only require a few hours of pop in care spread out at differing times of the day, but overtime or for others it may require 12 hours or 24 hours live in care.
However, it will only be arranged by your council if they assess your needs as either "substantial" or more commonly "significant" and would only be funded by them if your savings are below specified levels, currently £23,250 in England, or £24,000 in Wales (2022/3).
In Scotland if assessed as needing care you should qualify for their free Personal Care Allowance regardless of savings.
To read more about domiciliary long term care and whether you could qualify for any financial help visit domiciliary care.
Provided by the NHS this is a short period of intensive care designed to try and rehabilitate the person needing care to allow them to return home.
Usually provided at home, it can be offered after a spell in hospital or even in a care home.
It is normally provided free of charge but only for 6 weeks.
Residential care describes care provided full time in a residential or nursing home.
Residential care homes are distinct from nursing homes only because residential care homes do not have a full-time state registered nurse on duty and are designed to provide adult social care – help with daily activities including wasting, toileting, eating etc, as opposed to giving nursing care.
Medical needs which arise whilst in a residential home will be dealt with by a visiting GP or district nurse. Once medical needs become more acute and/or regular - nursing care will normally become necessary either resulting in a move to a nursing home or move to a nursing ward or floor if the care home currently in is a dual registered home, i.e. offers both residential and nursing care.
Any financial help towards this type of care is means tested (unless you live in Scotland where you will receive free Personal Care but still be assessed for accommodation costs) and you are only likely to receive anything in England or Wales if your assets (including any property if single, divorced or widowed) is more than currently £23,250 England, or if you live in Wales - £50,000 (2022/3).
If your assessed savings exceed this, you will need to self-fund when you should at least consider a care fee annuities and discover how much one would cost.
The only other time you are likely to receive any financial help is if you qualify for totally free NHS Continuing Healthcare, or in Scotland - “Hospital Based Complex Clinical Care”.
Nursing Care is more expensive than residential care.
Although anyone needing nursing care will still be means tested (unless they qualify for free NHS Continuing Healthcare), providing they are formally assessed as needing nursing care and receives this care in a nursing home, they should receive Funded Nursing Care contribution.
Funded Nursing Care (FNC) is an additional payment to cover the extra costs of nursing and is NOT means tested. It is paid directly to your nursing home.
The amount of FNC you receive will depend on which country you receive care in. Currently Funded Nursing Care Contribution is £187.60 per week if you live in England, £191.80 per week in Wales and Scotland’s Nursing Contribution is £95.80 per week (2022-23)
As you only qualify for this if you need nursing care you should also check you don’t qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare as this would avoid even having to pay for your care.
Even if your needs are deemed significant or substantial, whether you will receive any financial help towards your care from your Local Authority is means tested.
Although the value of your home will be excluded if you need care at home, should you need care in a care home and are single, divorced or widowed your home will normally be included.
Should your assessable savings and investments (including any second property) exceed just £23,250 England, £29,750 if you live in Scotland, or £24,000 in Wales (2022/3), you are unlikely to receive any financial help so will need to fund your own care. If this is the case, you may like to read ways of paying for care.
Even if you need to pay for your own care, the good news is there are certain tax-free state benefits which you may be able to claim depending on your age. The following are not means tested but based simply on your need for assistance /care;
If you are over 65 and need help and support looking after yourself, you may be able to claim - Attendance Allowance, if you are under 65 you could potentially benefit from Personal Independence Payment Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Also if someone below state retirement age spends more than 35 hours a week looking after you, they may be able to claim Carers Allowance.
Depending on your age and finances you may also be able to claim Pension Credit which if you received the Guaranteed Pension Credit or you have a disability, you could also get an exemption from Council Tax. For reduction on council tax you should contact your own Local Authority.
Should you need to fund your own care we would love to help.
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