When the time comes to chose a care home for your family member or friend, there is one thing that is for sure, it’s going to cost a lot of money. Care cannot be given on the cheap due to the high costs of regulation by the government via the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the need for high staffing levels with professionally trained staff in care homes.
Most of us do not address the questions that may arise when we need care when we are fit and healthy. This leads to most care home decisions being made when people are in crisis which is never a great time to have to make a very important decision. It is especially difficult if your loved one is so poorly that they are deemed to “lack capacity” to make decisions. Unless you have discussed this previously and have the correct legal paperwork in place such as a lasting power of attorney (LPA), things can be very complicated.
A Lasting Power of Attorney gives a court nominated individual the power to make decisions over another.
There are two types of LPA:
Health and Welfare – covering medical and best interest decision.
Property and Finance – covering money and assets decisions.
Links to the government website are here which has much more detailed information on the subject:
LPAs are something that all of us should consider along with writing our wills. 60% of residents in the UK do not have a will. People make many excuses for not having a will including the belief that they don’t have anything to leave and that they are not ready to write a will. A will is a living document that informs people of your desires and the consequences of not having one can cause additional difficulties and distress after death.
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney will make things substantially easier when life gets difficult. Suppose you are in a car accident and unable to speak or communicate. Who makes the decisions about your medical treatment or pays the bills whilst you are incapacitated? There are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia. Most of us have met or remember a family member or friend who had difficulties with their memory. Caring for people with advanced dementia requires specialised training and at some point, most people with dementia will require full time care by professionals.
If you need to place your family member or friend in a care home, and they are not eligible for Social Services or NHS support, they will be expected to pay for it from their own funds. If there is no LPA in place, it can take months for the courts to grant power of attorney to enable the money to be released for care fees. This creates additional distress for everyone and may mean that your loved one stays at home for longer than is safe for them.
To find someone to help you with a will, try asking people that you know who they might recommend. For a Lasting Power of Attorney, it is possible to apply for it yourself, otherwise take legal advice. It is not as expensive as you might think and its certainly a lot cheaper than trying to sort it out when it’s too late.