Dementia tax? I don't get it???

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Hi, sorry to be thick, but I don't understand what the furore was over the 'dementia tax' issue in the press re the Conservative manifesto?

From what I understand from this forum, until a person has run out of savings or assets down to the threshold of £23,500 ALL care is self-funded, whether that is in a care home or at the caree's home?

Isn't that so?

If it is, what was all the fuss about?

If it isn't, then what is the current situation? My MIL is in a care home and is paying for it by using up the money she got from selling her flat. Would it be different if she lived at home and had carers coming in (not that it would work now given her dementia)

(PS - someone in the Sunday Times blithely announced that when dementia becomes advanced the care is then paid by the NHS! Not sure this is true...unless 'end stage' dementia finally counts as an 'illness'???)
Hi Jenny
As I understand it currently...
For care at home, the value of the house is disregarded.
For residential care, the value of the house is included ( the proportion of it if jointly owned)

Tories proposed including the value of house (or proportion of) in all calculations..
And raising threshold to £100,000 instead of £23000
And, possibly, put a fixed limit to how much one person would contribute overall, but no figures given

From what I could see all other parties promised much but without detail of what and how it would be paid for.

Personally I'd prefer everyone to start using the phrase 'assets' rather than the more emotionally charged 'savings' or 'house'.
I have worked with many well paid people who have various assets (often mutliple properties) and can well afford to pay for full care for many years, and I don't see why they shouldn't, so I don't agree with a total cap. It would just mean the richer are subsidised .
All the politicians focus on putting spin and gloss and trying to convince us one size fits all, but as a nation we have many very rich people and many poor people. One size does not fit all.
Mrs A, thank you. I'd assumed that care at home already took account of the value of the house, not just the 'ready cash' of the caree. I actually think that it's a discrepancy that seems unfair, as some people can't be looked after at home, and some can, and why should the financing rules change just because of that?

I also agree with you that it would be redistributive from 'poorer' to 'wealthier' if the wealthy got the public purse to pay for their care (ie, out of the taxes that many poorer people have paid, as well as wealthy).


The heart of the problem is the horrendous high cost of care, and I don't think there is any way around that, except by not getting ill in the first place.....

BUT, from what you say about the 'dementia tax' I think the manifesto was actually fairer than the current situation - as usual, the press seem to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick and then fanned the flames with it! But, the manifesto was stupidly worded and presented....

I agree 'assets' is both a more neutral word AND more comprehensive, and therefore far clearer.
Hi Jenny
The original thinking was that a house can be sold or rented to pay residential fees as the caree is no longer living there, but for care at home this wouldn't be possible without the home!
What is unfair, if after having worked and scrimped all your life to pay for a house and pass iton to children it is suddenly taken away from you. House prices in the South are horrendous and being left 100,000 in the South wouldn't get you half a house , in some parts of the country it is more generous. Why should people save? why should people care for anyone at home- why not take the easier option and place them in a care home straight away of you are going to lose everything anyway? A lot of issues come up if you delve a little deeper.
Yes it is the extortionate cost of care that impacts so much on everything- £165 per day for Dad''s respite care. It is called the dementia tax just because it is often people with this condition who need more demanding and long term care, obviously not exclusively.
I don't suppose any of us have an equitable answer or we would be in No 10 instead of Mrs May.
And having worked for the rich, I can tell you their assets are safely protected in Trusts or Companies !
It's everyday folk in the middle who get caught out most.
I'm already thinking that my home won't pass on and so would like to help my children now as much as I can.
I'm of the generation that was encouraged to save for pension but that pension won't cover residential care.
The autoenrolment pensions being implemented at 4% won't generate anything anywhere near close to a pension to live on. Most people need contribute at least 15%, more likely 30-40% if they didn't start young.

It's impossible to know how much care/cost one will need and therefore impossible to budget.
If neither hubby or me need residential then we may have something to pass on. if we do then we won't. Hence we pass on what we can now..
Jenny, I understand what you're saying, and I agree that something has to be done. But look at the situation of someone like Henrietta: she is virtually giving up her life for her father, who would prefer to stay at home (even if your MIL can't), and suddenly the goalposts are moved so she would be in a totally different financial situation without warning. These things need at least debating, and Theresa May was putting it into her manifesto so when she got the resounding majority she was expecting, the whole thing would have been passed without debate because 'the electorate voted for it'. Thank goodness they did not vote for it.
I'm suspecting (hoping ?) that this will be one manifesto pledge that will quietly go off into a dark corner and die ! Especially given the furore it has caused amongst all sections of society - rich and poor, left and right wing !
We were able to visit lots of care homes in the Crosby and Southport area as well as North Wales in preparation for one or both my two aunties, We found wide variations between them and very difficult to find an ideal one. Eventually we found one similar to a Country House Hotel. But if you are not a self funder perhaps you have no choice.
Henrietta I think your predicament exactly highlights why that 'absolute decision' has to be taken right from the off - whether to safeguard the family home and do care DIY, as you are doing (or, sadly, only for half the family home....!), or simply bite the bullet and say 'no home, residential care from the off' and be done with it (as I have done with MIL - BUT, her home was 'only' worth £100,000.....).

As ever, the real problem is 'duration'. My friend has opted for your option, Henrietta, and so cares for her dad in her own home, letting out her childhood home. BUT, it's gone on for about five years now, and he's still doing pretty well, while her life is lived 'around him'. The 'upside' is, she'll get his house (again, like you, shared with a non-caring sibling).

So, it's a real rock or a hard place, isn't it? Your life or a house? And not one of us knows whether we'll regret whatever decision we make.

But it's a decision that has to be taken upfront, and that is what makes it hard, because I don't think any of us really know what we're letting ourselves in for as a carer, until we start doing it - and the real gamble is the length of our care's lives.....