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Residential care - what happens when your money runs out?! - Page 3 - Carers UK Forum

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

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
70 posts

Some things you say are indeed quite brutal, but I think that many people can identify with the feelings you have towards your MIL. You've been caught in a tricky situation and it's been a balancing act where you've had to weigh up your MIL's wants/needs against your own, but I think you've achieved a good compromise and there is no need to feel bad just because you don't want to be around your MIL anymore. Despite your feelings you're still making an effort for her and keeping the lid on those negative feelings to spare her feelings, which is how I am when I visit Dad these days.

(I've moved my other comments to the other thread re Mum's toilet issues, as I realised we've wandered off topic here.)

Back on topic, yesterday I received a call from Social Services to tell me they have now allocated a social worker and will be doing the assessment next week! :o At last! So, can't help wondering if the threat of a solicitor got them moving, but anyway at least the process is beginning now.

Had a chat with the SW about Dad's needs and they were very interested as to why he has a room with en suite toilet. I explained his mobility problems and the fact he forgets to use his walking frame, when alone in his room, and can just about stagger to the toilet but could not cope with staggering down a corridor if he did not have the en suite. Her reaction: 'Could he use a commode?' !?!?!?! :o :shock: Must admit, didn't see that one coming! My response 'No, he would definitely refuse to use/ignore it. He's a very proud man and I know he'd rather stagger off down the corridor and risk breaking a hip than use a commode! He needs the en suite WC!'

I felt really angry afterwards. Part of me wishes I'd said 'How would YOU like to use a commode?!? In his position would YOU swap your toilet for one, to save the tax payer a few quid?' Old age brings certain indignities with it, but there's no way I'm letting SS heap more on my father! He worked from the age of 14 till he was 67 and probably paid a lot more into the system than he will ever take out. I will fight his corner. I feel sorry for those who have nobody to speak up for them.
Iexpect you realise that this is an attempt to save money. IF the home he is in has roomswithout an en suite, then they might not fund the difference in costs. If you are unhappy about anything they say, then consider using a delaying tactic,
. Something like "I need time to think about everything you've said, can I get back yo you in a couple of days. Remembervthatvthere is a legalmprecedent to not moving people without good cause. If required, I can give you some references to look it up. Given your job, that will be easy I expect!
Well, the social worker met Dad today to assess his needs, and seems to agree that he is settled there and the home is caring for him well. Due to Dad's mobility problems (he really struggles to walk now, even with the zimmer frame) she agreed that he needs a ground floor room and she has also conceded that he needs his own en suite WC. Another room has recently become available on the ground floor, which has en suite WC but is smaller and no garden view/patio door. It is a cheaper room and the owner will reduce it by a further £15 a week as a goodwill gesture to ease the situation with SS.

I explained to the SW that Mum's needs are increasing, her pension is small and she needs her savings to fund her own care at home. I explained that Mum simply cannot afford any top up fees and the SW said she is going to approach their funding dept to try to get the full price of the smaller room for Dad. The SW was very understanding of the fact I have to juggle the needs of both parents, but did ask very pointedly who owns the house. I confirmed it belongs to Mum. She asked if Mum has dementia, and queried if she might be better off going into sheltered accommodation. I said I knew exactly where she's coming from and I have mixed feelings about that myself, but Mum is not ready to move and I'm not pushing her at this stage. I also said that I'm very aware that if Mum downsizes now the council will then push her to pay towards Dad's care, which would mean she could still end up on the poverty line further down the line, then not have any choices if she needs to go into a home. The SW said she will need to interview Mum and I said I fully understand that, but she is unlikely to persuade Mum to move. I added that I'd not be upset if she did persuade her, because it's me and my husband who take care of all the ongoing repairs, maintenance and gardening, which we could do without, but it's Mum's choice, not ours.

The SW is VERY young and muttered something about this being her first case where she'd had to get involved with funding. She also mentioned using the Human Rights Act as a way to prevent Dad being moved to a different home, as the HRA gives him some protection, apparently. It would be nice to think that the HRA, which seems to have been much abused by all manner of people, might now be of some use in protecting Dad's needs, and Mum's right not to downsize until she is ready. We'll see. However, I am wondering if the SW may have got carried away with trying to help us, but may later find that she'll get reprimanded for conceding so many points. :? Time will tell.

After the SW left, I had a chat to Dad. He was suspicious of the reasons for the SW's visit, so I explained it was to ensure he is being properly looked after and also said it was to 'review' the funding. (White lie as he'd go beserk if he knew I've been using his savings to fund it for the past year.). I explained that his room costs quite a bit more, due to the view and patio door etc, and said that he might have to pay something towards it, or consider moving into a smaller room. Well, he said he didn't want to pay anything, he's not fussed about the view and anyway the door to the garden is a nuisance as the staff keep leaving it open (they keep trying to air the room and encourage him out into the garden on sunny days - pesky carers!) Then we showed him the smaller room and he said it's fine! :) That's a relief, as the difference is £50 a week and there's no way they'll fund that!!! I asked "Are you sure you won't miss the garden view?" and he said no, it doesn't interest him at all! When I think back to how keen I was to get the best room for him, and how convinced I was that the garden would make a difference to him, it seems quite funny now. I fussed about, planted things in tubs where he could see them, and tried to encourage him to take an interest, but the effort was all wasted really. I'm convinced that fate has taken a hand and it's now time for somebody else to have the best room. Somewhere out there, there is somebody anxious to find just the right place for their elderly parent, and when they see that room they will jump at the chance, especially if their parent is still active enough to want to potter in the garden. Dad is beyond that now, so it's someone else's turn.
Make sure that the ine perienced SW follows procedures. There MUST be a full financial assessment before anything else is done.
Thanks BB. I spoke to her again yesterday, and she explained that she does have experience in assessing people for funding, but apparently this is the first case she's handled where the family/spouse is unable to pay any top up fees and has pushed for them to be waived. Maybe many people just accept the mantra "Our cap is £X and any fees above that are the responsibility of the family" that social workers have a habit of trotting out? So, she's not quite as inexperienced as I first thought, but she says our case is unusual for her.

SS will be discussing Dad's case at a panel meeting next week, then the finance dept will contact me about the financial assessment. I already prepared a budget sheet for them, showing all Dad's monthly income and expenditure, plus account balances, which I gave to the SW. He's broken his DVD player and lost weight, so I might purchase another DVD player and a few new clothes for him, but I won't be going on a lavish spending spree, just buying things that he will benefit from and all the receipts will be kept.
I wish I'd joined carers uk before I agreed to third party top-ups for my mums respite care.

I say agreed, I was in fact told third party top-ups were inevitable else no respite care. Doesn't matter now I've signed s'pose.

I'm on carers allowance and not in formal employment so it's a struggle.

I did see on the CRAG that residents must demonstrate that family can afford top-up fees. That was never done so I wonder if this negates my signing of agreement. Probably doesn't knowing my luck!
Social Services MUST follow the proper procedures. I would make a formal complaint then it can be investigated properly by the higher management. They have a duty to do an assessment before imposing charges. I know lots of people are worried about making formal complaints, but it's the only way to get things looked at properly, and unless they find out that things are not being done properly, how can they put things right? It only needs to be a very short letter, saying "I am writing to make a formal complaint about arrangements concerning my mother's respite care. I was wrongly told by XXX that respite was only available if I paid a "top up" to the fees. I have since discovered that CRAG regulations state "ZZZZ". I am therefore asking for a full refund of all the money I paid." In my area, social workers are unfamiliar with CRAG regulations, because SSD have a separate finance department. My background means that I will always find out what the rules are and then look to see if the rules have been applied properly.
Thanks Bowlingbun, I must find out whether or not they checked if I could afford - I can't remember if the SW queried my benefit status or not. I know that mam had an assessment of her ability to pay for services but I didn't.
Latest update - social services have completed their financial assessment and after discussing Dad's case at a panel meeting they have agreed to fully fund Dad's care! :) They sent a letter laying out all their calculations in a very precise and logical way, so I was able to understand how they calculated the exact day on which Dad's savings would have reached the upper threshold. Basically they will pay the fees direct to the care home, then bill us for an amount equivalent to all his state/pension, minus a deduction of around £24 per week which they allow him to keep for expenses. There is a tariff income charge too, of £36 a week, which can be paid from Dad's own capital (apparently this is allowed, as it is not an actual "top up" payment, which would be payable by third parties). They will reassess his savings every 6 months and reduce the tariff income charge as the capital reduces. If Dad's savings drop to the lower limit of around £14K then the tariff income charge stops.

I've laid all this out in the hope that it might help others who are applying for funding. In the end I didn't need to employ a solicitor, but I do think the fact I kept mentioning that I would get one if needs be probably made them realise I would not give up easily. Also, whenever anyone from social services mentioned top up fees 'being the responsibility of the family' I had my lines off pat such as 'My mother can't afford top up fees. My mother has growing needs and is using her savings to provide her own care at home. It's not my mother's fault that the council sets an arbitrary cap of X amount a week, which is unrealistically low and has no basis whatsoever in law. The council has a statutory duty to look after my father, as he is a vulnerable adult, my mother does not have a statutory duty to fund his care and cannot afford it, etc.' In truth I think I ground them down! I also think the social worker was sympathetic towards us and realised that I have to juggle the needs/finances of both parents. She was very nice - I think I will write her a thank you card and maybe get her a little gift. :)
That is great news. Well done for sticking to your guns. A huge relief.
70 posts