Council direct payments, Attendance Allowance and equity release are covered by a new calculator.
Elder, a firm which helps match live-in carers with older people that need that sort of assistance, has launched a new calculator which allows you to work out which funding you qualify for.
Users are asked a host of questions about the person that requires care. These include things like whether care is needed around the clock, whether they suffer from physical or mental disabilities (or both), which issues they need help with, and their financial situation.
The calculator then runs through the different options that might help with paying for live-in care. These include the likes of direct payments from the local council, Attendance Allowance and even whether equity release could be an option.
It's a small but important improvement in what is a stressful and confusing situation.
How much does live-in care cost?
According to the UK Care Guide, the cost of live-in care will vary significantly based on your location, ranging from £800 per week all the way up to £1,800.
While this is undoubtedly a significant expense, it still works out cheaper generally than moving into a care home. The fact that it means you can stay in your own home, close to family and friends, means it is often a preferable option where possible.
Elder said that in testing their funding calculator, almost three-quarters of users were surprised to find that they may qualify for some sort of funding from their local authority.
Unfortunately, claiming that money is rarely so straightforward.
Aged care is too complicated
Elder cites research from Ipsos Mori which found that significant numbers of people who try to secure funding through social services “complex and stressful”.
My family has experienced this first hand, when trying to arrange Attendance Allowance for my grandfather, who was acting as carer for my grandmother.
It’s not just that the process was torturous, but it was also so overwhelmingly complicated that there was no way that it would have been possible without my mother handling the (repeated) applications.
We were in a fortunate position, in that my parents lived locally and were able to handle the whole thing. There are plenty of older people acting as carers for their loved ones, and who need this funding, but are simply in no position to actually go through the process of claiming it.
Helpfully, Elder's calculator allows you to immediately apply for that funding, in some cases taking you straight to the council’s direct payments application page, though this depends on location.
Equity release and care funding
I have to admit, I did raise an eyebrow when equity release was delivered as an option when I was testing the calculator.
Make no mistake about it, equity release is going to have a huge role to play in covering the costs of care for significant numbers of older people. According to figures from equity release provider Key, the over-65s are sat on property wealth of an incredible £1.09 trillion in the UK.
It’s definitely something that older people should consider when working out what their budget is for paying for care.
But it’s not the same as direct payments or an Attendance Allowance, which is money coming from the state to support individuals. Equity release is a form of credit, where you basically borrow against the value of your property - as a loan, it should be made very clear that unlike state help, it will need to be repaid.
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