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Residential care - what happens when your money runs out?! - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Residential care - what happens when your money runs out?!

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
70 posts
So sorry to hear that, SheWolf, sounds a dreadful situation.

Jenny, I made some enquiries about this recently. Yes, Social Services would take over the payment. However, they would only pay up to their agreed amount. In my area that is £570 a week. Almost all care homes in the area charge at least £800. So the shortfall is expected to be made up by a "third-party top up", ie me! If, most likely, I was unable to do so, then the caree would need to move to a home which charges less, irrespective of what impact this may have on the caree.

What I don't know is what would happen if no place was available at the "cheap" home :(
Yes, I think it's your last sentence that is the crucial one.. (!) I suppose, given the brute reality of things now, that one could even envisage carees being 'shipped out' to 'low cost' areas such as, say Sunderland (or wherever!).

It is a quite, quite 'vicious' situation all round - families are just about held to ransom. In the end it could come down, as you are experiencing yourself, to YOU 'subbing' the state in order to keep a relative nearby or in a place they like, etc etc.

Having run them through all their own money, the state now intends to run them through all of their family's!!!! ANYTHING to avoid picking up the tab themselves!

SheWolf's experience re the 'timing' of the transition from self-fund to state-funded is sobering. The Age Concern UK website warns that it's advisable to contact SS a good six weeks before the self-fund money runs out, to ensure continuity of care across the transition, but it looks from SW's experience it needs to be a lot ealier than six weeks even!

Over and over again it seems that carers are left 'over a barrel' - for instance, right now, although my MIL is (thank heavens!) installed in an Abbeyfield 'supported living' home, the house manager has said she is not making her own breakfast as she is required to do. I did ask 'is this because she CAN'T any more (ie, brain gone!) or WON'T as in CBA (!), and he thought more the latter. I've had to agree to having an 'extra carer' in every morning, in order to oversee her 'getting up' and oversee her 'making her own breakfast' (understandably, the place hasn't got the staff to do that kind of thing itself), in order for her to be eligible to continue to stay at the Abbeyfield. Now, the extra carer costs at least £15 a day, which is £105 a week, which is £420 a month which is an extra £5000 a year ON TOP of the £22,000 a year it costs to live at the Abbeyfield......

All because a 90 year old can't face putting a couple of slices of toast in a toaster and buttering them! (Ironically, she probably isn't that hungry, and would rather remain a bit peckish till lunchtime than bother to make her own breakfast when she doesn't feel like it!)

(To be fair, there are some other 'issues' around her general state of 'confusedness' and just how much she is 'clued up' to 'normal routine' etc etc.)

But the whole thing is just one more indication of how EXPENSIVE it is the MOMENT elderly people stop doing things that they have been happily doing for years all their lives, and become reliant on 'someone else' doing it for them!

Anyway, if the early morning carer thing works, and it costs another £5k a year, well, we'll be looking for state-funded care that much sooner than otherwise, won't we, and that's all there is to it!

And would I take her back into my house to look after her and do all the things that are being done for her now by 'someone else' (Abbeyfield, extra carer), even if I paid myself the £27,000 a year it's costing her now? Er, no. So, in which case, that's it then, isn't it? We pay 'someone else' or we 'do it ourselves'. No other choices.

And that's for an MIL that has no complicating or debilitating mobility or health issues other than 'extreme old age'!!!!!

Hey ho and on we go!

And, as ever, I'm just GRATEFUL that MIL's situation is so immensely EASIER than that facing so many of you here! I have a LOT to be thankful for!

KR to all, as ever, Jenny

(PS - and of course, the final irony of the situation is that MIL doesn't even WANT to be at the Abbeyfield place!!!!!!!) (she'd FAR rather be either with me, or in a flat of her own.....) (SIGH.....)
Anne, you have NOT been given correct information. Social Services must NOT set a level below the market rate. Their rate must be sufficient to buy beds for people who can't afford top ups, or have relatives to pay them. It's all laid down in the CRAG regulations.
Interesting (and helpful!). I suppose it's yet another 'trying it on' tactic to try and get family to fork out!

Something I'm clinging to is what I've learnt here (possibly even from BB!) - that NO ONE in a family HAS to care themselves, or pay, for an elderly person - while the elderly person remains 'legally competent'.

(Hope that's right!).

What I'm absolutely adament about is that I NEVER EVER EV ER get landed with ANY kind of 'guardianship' role, and would rather MIL ends up as a 'ward of court' or whatever (Office of the Public Guardian I think it is) than for me to have ANY kind of legal responsibility for her in any way whatsoever! And I'm absolutely equally adament that my son also does not get LEGALLY LANDED with any kind of responsibility for his grandmother.

The whole thing is just so sad and depressing - that we play this ghastly 'pass the parcel' when it comes to the elderly when 'no body wants to be landed with them'..... (or, to be more accurate 'landed with the whole time'.....)
I subscribe to Which, but seldom have time to read it properly. Recently, I found details of an investigation into care. Following all my problems, I'm going to ask them to do a second investigation into care home charges, and the way authorities are ignoring all the rules.
And the social work department threaten to put my 28 year old son into one of these places if we can no longer care!!

Eun, well, we can easily see what was behind that, can't we? Offer you something you wouldn't dream of accepting and, hey presto, guess what happens? Oh yes, the 'good old family' just ends up going on coping.......

Kind regards to you in such a dreadful, dreadful situation - Jenny.
Re the cost of 'elder care' overall, maybe the only thing 'we' (ie 'society') should do is insist that every person invests in some kind of 'care pension' that will cover their care costs right the way through to say, 100 (though it's difficult to put an 'age limit' on it as this seems to be perennially rising, and by the time 'we' get to 100, the upper age limit will be yet another ten years on....).

If that care is never needed, either because the person dies beforehand or, conversely, stays uber fit and independent, then the lump sum saved just goes back to the family (or, can be 'inherited' by the next oldest person, etc).

But I'm sure there are loads of flaws in my suggestion that I haven't thought of.

Not to mention the fundamental 'problem' for so many families, which is that, as I said above earlier, the 'elephant in the room' is that the family simply don't WAN'T to have the elderly relative live with them, or close by, or spending much (any??) time with them.....that's the real 'horrible truth' for so many, many families (not all, obviously, but in many cases....)

It's interesting about your MIL not getting her own breakfast, she sounds very much like my mother, in that she is physically able to do things for herself, but is seemingly unwilling to do these things, preferring to be waited on. In a way I guess it's understandable that people in their 80s or 90s prefer others to wait on them, but the cost of providing such service is huge and soon depletes any savings.

Is your MIL still caring for herself in other ways - dressing, washing, toiletting herself? If so, be grateful for small mercies, as my mother is not doing any of that now, without constant prompting, even though her mobility is pretty good for her age (more details on my other thread). I have the feeling Mum will have to go into a care home within the next year, because really the only way around her self neglect is 24 hour care. She says she's not ready, but maybe in time I will have to take the decision for her? (It seems that as people grow older they seem to need saving from themselves more and more... ) I hate the worry and responsibility of having elderly parents. There is no joy in this situation, only a dread of how much worse things can get.
Dear SW - yes, I echo all you say. There is no joy any more, just dread that things will worsen and worsen (or just stay as bad) and go on for years. I know my situation is different emotionally from most people's here, as it's my MIL, not my mother, so I don't love her and wouldn't miss her (I think!)(I may be surprised...)(or rather, grieving and repentent when it's too late!), but the saddest saddest thing about someone very old becoming so dependent on others is when the brute truth about it is 'no one wants them'. It just strikes me as so sad that my MIL has become someone like that. 'No one wants her'. It's awful just to write it down, but it's the bottom line of her situation. One son is dead, the other lives in the USA and hasn't set eyes on her for over five years since his brother's funeral - he phones weekly to her, but clearly he doesn't 'miss' her in any real sense of the word, he doesn't want her company, or miss her when she is absent from his life. My son, her grandson, is fond of 'Granny' and very probably does love her, but he is a young man to whom she is just an occasional figure, very old, and he shows no sign of 'missing' her when he is at college. As for me, well, no, I am 'fond' of her, but my predominant feeling towards her is that she is, to be hideously blunt, a 'nuisance' in my life that I want to be relieved of! If she went off to live with her son, I'd be thrilled (I'd be stunned with shock as well!), but that's about as likely as snow in hell....

So there she is, safe and warm and fed and comfy in her nice comfy Abbeyfield home, and absolutely no one on this planet really wants her company. Certainly not for the amount of time she wants their company. And to be equally brutal, the only reason she wants my company is to keep her entertained and making her feel not 'abandoned' (which I have done, I'm perfectly well aware). She said to me the other evening when I took her back after an outing 'I'll miss you' ......but I'm not someone she loves, just needs......and what do I say back to her, 'Well, I won't miss you....'????? Obviously not, I'm not that hideously cruel (outwardly).

However, as you say, I am indeed grateful she is as 'capable' as she is, in terms of dressing and toiletting. She's a bit vague re clothes, but not too bad, and the T-stuff is thank God OK.
Yes, I can see that they want increasingly 'someone else' to do it all for them, and that any personal care requires effort and work and they dont' want to do it (she hates being showered!), but it just all makes the situation horrider and horrider. The more 'personally neglected' they become in their personal care, the more 'repellent' they become to anyone giving them that care. More and more and more and more and more I just think 'WHY?' - why be alive any more if that is what one is being reduced to? A sad, frail, physical wreck that no one wants to go near any more! I look at her photos ((I've been sorting out her flat) and seen her young and vibrant and a completely different person, and I just think it's an absolute tragedy the way she is now - and the way she will probably become.....

I hope you can resolve the situation somehow with your own mother. She says she is not ready - but it sounds like you are more than ready for her to go into care! I'm afraid I would recommend it sooner rather than later, and just get it over and done with. One thing I do know, as I know others here have said, and you know too as well, I'm sure - that the way they are with us is NOT the way they are with professional carers! They DO 'play us up' to get sympathy or whatever, whereas with professional carers (even though they tell us they 'hate' them!) (MIL's latest is 'I can't stand that man who runs this place' and 'I can't stand that woman who comes in in the morning'.....)they simply don't play them up. MIL is, apparently, now making herself breakfast under the 'supervision' of her morning carer, and her erratic behaviour has stopped says the house manager. So, money well spent it would seem.....

PS - just read what I've written and it's absolutely horrible! Can't believe I wrote it - but it's come out of somewhere, I know that. One thing, though, I think is true, now that I face these horrible things. I called her a 'nuisance' (vile), but maybe what I mean by that is that what I REALLY want for her is to be 'happy somewhere that is not with me'. If she loved this place, and were happy to be there, and relieved she is being looked after by all those nice people, and took an interest in the place, and what goes on, and the other residents, and liked sitting out in the lovely gardens, etc etc etc.....then when I took her out I wouldn't think 'oh God, I've got to go and take her out again'......and I wouldn't feel that dreadful pressure on me which I read as 'Please-get-me-out-of-here-and-let-me-live-with-you!' that I feel coming from her. I feel I can't 'enjoy' her company (which I always used to, when I only saw her a few times a year when she was independent!) because I feel she wants more of me than I want to give her.....
70 posts