While staying at a nursing home could be the best way for you to enjoy your time while having access to professionals who can support you, it’s not cheap. More so because of the time you have to spend at home.
The high cost of care is one reason most seniors dread staying at a nursing home. If you’re thinking of moving into a care home or moving a loved one into such a facility, you should know that there are various ways you can pay for their services.
More than half of the people in nursing care homes in the UK today pay for the cost of the services for themselves or with the help of their families. It’s not an easy burden to bear. But it is one of the easiest and fastest ways to enjoy the services of a care home.
The greatest benefit of self-funding is you get to choose your care home, and you can go for the best of the best.
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For some seniors, opting to sell their home and move into a care home proves to be the best option. Others consider taking out a mortgage on their homes to cater to the cost of staying in a care home.
Some of the factors that can force you to foot the cost of a care facility include:
- If you have savings and assets that exceed the capital limits for care.
- You have a regular income that is sufficient to cover your care fees.
- If the local authority didn’t find you eligible after a needs assessment.
It’s always a good idea to get a needs assessment done even when you don’t expect to qualify for financial support. The assessment will help you acquire vital information on the type of support that is available to meet your needs if you can’t raise funds yourself.
Some common ways of raising money for self-funding include:
- Using your savings.
- Private income.
- Renting out your home if you don’t want to sell it.
- State benefits like attendance allowance and pension credit.
The other way you can pay for your care needs is through the local authority. In this case, depending on your financial situation, the authority might cater to all the costs or part of them.
For the local authority to provide you with the financial support you need, they have to carry out a needs assessment. This helps to determine the level of care you require.
If your needs are considered eligible, the authority proceeds to carry out a financial assessment to determine how much you should pay towards the cost of your care and how much the council should be. This is called a social care means test.
During the social care means test, the council will scrutinize your capital limits of care, which is the value of your savings and assets. If they surpass the limit in your area, you might have to pay for your care.
For seniors who qualify for full funding from the local council, a list of choices of care homes that suit your needs is provided. If you’re not comfortable living in the options provided or you would like to live in a more expensive home, you, a family member or even a friend can pay the difference of what the council funds can’t pay. This is known as a care home top-up or a third-party top-up.
You can also apply for local authority funding if you will be receiving care in your own home. However, the same rules apply as for care homes, but you could benefit from some differences in the means test. For instance, the value of your home will not be included in the means test.
Through the NHS
There are instances where the NHS can cater for the costs of a care home for people with complex health needs.
There are two avenues through which the NHS can step in to provide financial support for seniors in a care home.
- NHS continuing healthcare funds – These funds are for people who need ongoing healthcare outside a hospital because they have complex medical care needs because of an accident, disability or major illness.
- NHS–funded nursing care – You can also use the NHS funded nursing care to pay for nursing home fees. But for this, you need to be assessed by the NHS and qualified as needing care.
With the NHS, you don’t have to be means-tested. But there is a strict eligibility criteria that is followed during the needs assessments.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your life as a senior. Making necessary arrangements that could make it easier to get funds to pay for your care is critical. Long-term insurance dedicated to this, for instance, could go a long way in easing the burden of the cost associated with a care home.
You can also consider reaching out to the local authorities, and in cases where you have long-term medical problems, the NHS could also step in and help offset the cost.