Guide to elder care planning and family meeting
Do you or a relative need extra help?
Are you/they struggling to -
- Maintain/manage personal hygiene
- Shop, prepare meals and drinks
- Keep the house clean and tidy
- Remember to take medication
A lot of people don’t notice that they are struggling so it may take a relative or friend to broach the subject.
Broaching the subject can be difficult; people are usually fiercely independent, set in their ways or fearful of change.
It is important that a person acknowledges that they may have a need so that the most appropriate care can be found.
Talking about what a person can and cannot do should help with making decisions.
Think about –
How are you/they managing at home – housework/cooking
Can you/ they manage the stairs - would adaptations help?
Are you/they nervous about being at home alone?
Can you/they hear the doorbell, telephone, television?
Do you/they feel lonely/isolated/
Can you/they go outdoors unaccompanied; to the shops?
Can you/they wash, shower, dress themselves?
If you have concerns; you should speak to your GP in the first instance in case any medical investigations need to be considered. The GP will also be able to refer or provide contact details for your Local Authority who will be able to discuss your care needs in more depth and provide the relevant information.
This can seem overwhelming for the person and family and can lead to further questions -
- Do I/they have to leave their home?
- What sort of care do I/they need?
- Where do I find the right care?
- How do I know what care/support is available, and what is best for me/them?
Care in the UK is provided in your own home or in a Residential setting; this will depend on your personal choice and what your/their needs are.
The UK has an ageing population (ONS, 2018k).
- There are nearly 12 million (11,989,322) people aged 65 and above in the UK of which:
- 5.4 million people are aged 75+,
- 1.6 million are aged 85+,
- Over 500,000 people are 90+ (579,776)
- 14,430 are centenarians (ONS, 2018f, 2018e).
These figures are expected to increase.
Being elderly doesn’t necessarily mean your health is failing, but many people live with one or more long term medical condition, are frailer or take a lot of medication that can impact on their ability to manage day to day. Additionally, the number of people living alone is increasing; this may increase the need for care or extra support.
When considering care consideration should be given to the following legal matters
- Writing a will – to ensure your wishes are fulfilled and that your assets go to whom you wish them to.
- Getting a lasting Power of Attorney – so that someone you trust can help make decisions on your behalf, if you are not able to.
- If you have assets gain advice on how to protect against inheritance tax.