new to caring

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I have just taken over the caring role for my husband who has always been the main person in our lives.i dont know how to do things like banking, insurance, bills etc. U have two honours degrees so shld be able to deal with things but i am at a loss. I find it more difficult to watch how he has deteriorated and how weak he has become - its tearing my heart out and i cant cope, i cry continually and dont know how much longer i can deal with this. How do u all cope with this. I am shattered at the change in our lives. Please advise. J
Hi Jane, I am also new to caring and have joined this site in the hope I may find people who are in a similar situations as myself, I am 44 and two days before Christmas my 51 year old partner had a stroke, I am just about managing to cope but he is the love of my life so I understand exactly how your situation is tearing out your heart, I am not very good at expressing myself but feel to talk is helpful.

My name is Tammy.
Hi Jane, having a degree, or two, is of little help when you are tired and too stressed out. However, it shows that you are perfectly capable of learning the new skills you need once you can think properly again.
What is the matter with your husband? Age? Has he had a Needs Assessment, and you a Carers Assessment, from Social Services?
Recording the money stuff is easy.
Two pieces of paper, and a bank statement.
Write MONEY IN on one bit, MONEY OUT on the other, all on a monthly basis.
Add up everything on each page.
If more goes out, either you cut out some things, or find more money. DO NOT BURY YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND!
What changes will help? Downsizing, talking to the credit card company, letting out a bedroom, all sorts possible.
Jane, I think with the bill worries you would need to sit and write a list of all of the utility companies you use plus a list of other out goings, once you have done that you can start to get in touch with each one and explain to them what has happened and how they can help you, I have always dealt with the household bills and council tax which if your partner is unwell you have entitlements for a reduction, do not get a credit card, this does not help with ongoing financial struggles, the companies regardless who they are will help you, I know this from experience as I have contacted each one in turn and each one is very helpful, I would love to talk to you further to maybe help you a little to relieve your worries, when you are caring for someone as do I it is not easy but you will succeed in the bills department, I have lots of information on websites to apply for that kind of help so I can give these to you, don't despair to much, it feels like its getting out of hand but your financial situation can be helped greatly.

I hope to hear from you.

Kind regards
Tammy
Carers UK has a really good advice service, the phone line is always busy, but you can send them an email and they will get back to you. We recommend against giving too many details on the open forum, for your own security. Easier to say I need to increase/decreas... or similar.
Hi Jane
I'd recommend a trip to your gp about you as it sounds as if the shock and stress of the situation might have tipped over into a bit of depression and they might offer either a prescription and/or some talking therapy that can help you through this difficult time.

Meanwhile, what other help and support do you get? What else can you access such as involving other family members?

You will get through this

Kr
MrsA
In practical terms, I would do the following.
(I'm going to assume your husband can't take ANY part in this process)(I do know a little what it feels like, when my husband died anything I didn't already know I had to discover from his files and paperwork - he simply wasn't there to ask any longer....a very isolating and sometimes scary feeling).

Basically, the 'paperwork' divides into two classes:

- money coming in
- money going out.

(Providing the former is not less than the latter, you'll l be fine!)

Obviously, some paperwork has both on it (eg, bank statements will log money coming in, and money going out)

Now, what is the source of the money coming in? (Not asking you tell us - this is for you yourself!). ie, what have you been living on?

eg
salaries/wages
private/company pensions
state income - eg, state pension, welfare payments etc
dividends (eg, if you/your husband own shares!)

That probably won't be a very long list!

Then you have to work out what are your outgoings -

eg,. utility bills (gas/electricity/water)
council tax
income tax (if this is not deducted at source, which it is for things like salaries/wages, and pensions)
mortgage payments/rent
insurance premiums
living expenses (eg, food, petrol, etc etc - all the 'everyday' things)


At some point, but not right now, you'll need to do an Annual Audit - ie, tot up ALL the money you get in within a year, and ALL the money that goes out.

However, right now, THE most important priority is to ensure that your bills are being paid, when they become due.

So, your husband probably set up some kind of direct debit to pay the council tax, which is paid monthly, usually near the beginning of the month. If you don't know, check his bank statements (I HOPE he didn't do Internet banking - if he did, you'll need his passwords - if you don't have them, you'll need to get in touch with his bank, and tell them what the situation is)(again, see below). However, if you look up the phone number for your council, you can get through to the C-tax department, and find out what monthly sum is paid, and how - they should be able to tell your what bank account it's coming out of for a start.

He may also have set up direct debits for the utilities, or he may pay for each bill as it comes in - again, this might be via paper bills (I hope!)(easier to find!) or via the Internet. Again, phone up the utilities companies. However, IF the accounts are not in YOUR name, they won't speak to you (irritating!) - unless you have Power of Attorney (see below)

Utilities bills are either paid monthly (eg, the direct debit system, and in which case the 'same amount' usually each month, irrespective of whether you've used more or less electricity/gas - at some point in the year this is adjusted)(go and read your meter by the way, and make a note of it!). However, your husband may be paying quarterly bills (usually Feb/May/Aug/Nov).

Insurance premiums will be due at some point for the following - the main one will be Buildings (eg, to rebuild the house if it burns down)(if you own your own house)!, and Contents (for the furniture and fittings etc). If you have a car, there wil lbe car insurance as well. Your husband may be paying monthly, or as one big annual payment. If the latter, the renewal date will be whenever he took the insurance out, could be any time of the year. It may be the same time as Motor Tax is due (annual) , or MOT and Servicing, or they could be scattered around the year.

'Living expenses' are probably the trickiest to tot up - it's amazing (scary!) how much we spend at supermarkets. In a way, it doesn't matter too much - providing you have enough money to pay the 'big bills' (as listed above), then you simply have what is 'left over' for the living expenses.

Slightly 'sideways' to all this is credit cards. It's 'sideways' as they may be used for a variety of bills, so bills like, eg, the electricity bill, may show they are paid on the credit card statement (credit card companies should be sending a monthly statement, to show what you owe or not)(you MUST pay the minimum each month, more if you possibly can, ideally pay off the whole amount - this is because interest rates are punishingly high on credit cards!)

You'll also need to check if your husband has any bank loans he is paying back - again, do NOT neglect to keep those payments going!

Sadly, there are few 'outgoings' that you can afford NOT to pay promptly - I know C-tax, if you miss a payment for whatever reason, simply add it to the next one - after a couple of months they will get shirty and contact you! With utilities, again, if you stop paying, at some point they come and cut you off....not good.

Car insurance is absolutely vital to keep paying, as is road tax, or you will be automatically stopped by the police and the car impounded, and you fined. It is simply not legal to drive without insurance, paid road tax, and a valid MOT too. (MOTs are also annual). (It used to be simple to tell when road tax was due, because it was on the tax disc on the window screen - now it's just electronicl. However, the DVLA website is brilliant, and you just enter your car reg to find out IF you are taxed - but you'll need to phone them to find out when it runs out and needs to be repaid.)

All of this sounds a huge thing to do - but if you just do a bit each day, it will, I promise, start to make sense.

FInally, do you have, or need, Power of Attoreny for your husband? If he can't run his own affairs (ie, your family affairs), you WILL need to get some degree of authorisation. If he's granted you PoA then banks and utility companies etc, will talk to you. If not they may well not.

I wish you as well as possible at a time which can easily feel 'overwhelming'.

The key is to keep the most important bills paid on time - other things can 'wait' for a bit.
Thinking about it - as I wrote the above, it really drove home to me how much EASIER it is if people do NOT go 'online' for their financial affairs!

Paper is LOADS easier to find, sort out, and make sense of.
Jane_1805123 wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 6:46 pm
I have just taken over the caring role for my husband who has always been the main person in our lives.i dont know how to do things like banking, insurance, bills etc.
Unfortunately this a trap that a lot of couples fall into - my Dad was quite a bit older than my Mum and when they married he insisted that she took over the household bills and paperwork so that in the event of him (probably/inevitably) dying before she did she would know what to do. When my sister married she and her OH followed suit; I never married so I had to do it all for myself anyway and when Mum was no longer capable of managing her own money/affairs (due to Alzheimer's) I took on the task of looking after them - luckily I'm a whizz with an Excel worksheet !