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Long-term care: the questions you need to ask
Choosing the right long-term care option can be a confusing experience. This guide sets out your options, the financial implications and the key questions to ask.
by Michelle McGagh on Sep 12, 2012 at 15:33
Moving an elderly family member into care throws up some difficult decisions about the type of help they need and the costs involved. However, planning ahead can help take some of the stress out of a fraught situation.
One of the mistakes families make is not thinking about long-term care needs until that need is staring them in the face, according to Mario Ambrosi of care home provider Anchor Trust.
‘It can be difficult to choose the right option [for a family member] so it is a good idea to invest in advice,' he said. 'We see people making decisions at the point of care and we have been urging the government to invest more in advice and getting people to think about [long-term care needs] in advance.’
For those who are considering care for a loved one, the choices can be daunting, and the costs even more so. However, the types of care on offer can be broken down into three main groups.
Sheltered housing is also known as ‘retirement housing’, and is typically for people who are still independent but want the security or community aspects that a retirement village can provide.
Residents are provided with their own front door so they retain their independence, but have the option of being visited by an on-site manager. They can choose the frequency of the visits, from never to every day, depending on the level of support they need.
Residents can buy properties in the village on a leasehold basis or rent them.
The cost of renting or buying depends on where the village is. Properties in the South East will be more expensive than those in the North, the same as any property in these areas. However, Ambrosi said the average rental price of an Anchor sheltered housing property is £130 per week.
The rent is split into two parts: the cost of renting the property and the service charge on top, which covers the cost of an on-site manager, repairs and maintenance of the property.
Depending on levels of income and savings, those planning to rent in a retirement village may be entitled to benefits from their local authority to help cover the cost of the rent. However, all local authorities are different and there is not, as yet, a standard amount of help that can be received across the country.
For those who wish to buy a property in a retirement village, the properties are sold on a leasehold basis. There are typically other fees that apply on top of the purchase price of the property, such as fees for the management of the grounds, repairs and maintenance.
Retirement villages have a community element to them that many older people find appealing: this could include fitness facilities, common areas, gardens and bowling greens. If the villages are outside of a major town often facilities for travelling into town to go shopping and visit the hairdresser are provided.
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