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Residential care - what happens when your money runs out?! - Page 4 - Carers UK Forum

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

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
70 posts
Well, things have taken a further twist. I was asked to visit the home to meet with the manager and go through the new contract with the Council. The contract was pretty straightforward and specifies there is full funding and states the room rate. However, the manager then explained that the Council will not agree to any inflationary increase in fees (normally done once a year in April in accordance with special index), they will only pay the agreed rate, like it's fixed in stone! Hence he wants me to sign a contract to state that I will pay the cost of the inflationary rise, every year. This all seems a bit odd to me, as surely his contract is now with the Council and it shouldn't be anything to do with the family now? The Council will be taking all of Dad's pension plus £36 a week tariff income charge, which I fully understand, but it seems strange that they will not allow for an increase in fees once a year, just to keep pace with inflation.

I'm in a bit of a pickle now. My head is telling me don't sign any such contract, as this issue is between the care home and the council. The care home is a business and has to increase its fees to account for the effect of inflation on its overheads and (hopefully) give its staff a pay increase each year, and the council should understand that. However, my heart is telling me something else, in that if I don't agree to this and take the charge, the care home manager might be resentful if inflation cuts into his profit margin, as Dad could live another 5 or 10 years and during that time inflation may well rise. Maybe he'd find an excuse to give Dad notice, using some other excuse ('care needs have increased/home can no longer cope with him') and we'd be forced to uproot him? That would be awful. I suppose I could use Dad's savings to fund this charge (as it's not officially a 'top up')? However, if it's my name on the contract, I will potentially have that liability for years and it's possible that both my parents could run out of savings so I'd have no choice but to find the money myself. Inflation is around 3% now, which would equate to a rise of around £900 next year, but that could rise every year. So, this feels like a top up, introduced by the back door. Maybe I'll need the specialist solicitor after all, or should I just live with it, and be glad it's only minimal?

(I've not signed it, I took it away to ponder on it.)
Oh She-Wolf, just when you think everything is sorted, this happens :( . I am certainly no expert but I too find this strange. After all the council will have dad's pension which presumably will increase a little (rate of inflation?) over the years. I think you need professional advice. I'm not sure whether I can advertise on this Forum so will PM you. I have been speaking to a very good lady from a professional firm of advisers who specialise in eldercare funding and in particular annuities to stop funding running out. They of course charge for their fees but the first hour over the phone is free. My free hour was invaluable for explaining what can or can't be done and how it all works. Might be worth giving them a call. Will send you their details.
Sw, for what it's worth (!), for the life of me I can't see what business it is of YOURS to fund your parent's care, or be in the slightest legally responsible for the costs their care incurs!

Have you taken on any kind of 'in loco parentis' or that kind of 'guardianship' role for your father? Unless you have, surely it is absolutely nothing to do with you! He remains, with or without mental capacity himself, an independent adult, and if he is, indeed, judged by the appropriate experts to be without mental capacity, then surely the state appoints some kind of state guardian (office of hte public guardian, court of protection, whatever!) to take charge of him (as if he were a child).

I would, myself, strongly say 'don't get involved'! Of course the state wants YOU to financially underwrite his care costs - they'd rather not pay any at all. BUT, I repeat, what responsibility legally is it of yours??? None that I can see. Nor of your mother, either!

Don't get dragged in, or emotionally blackmailed, by the council into underwriting a brass farthing of your father's care costs!

All the best, and I'm sure those with more expertise in this pernicious area will be here to give more experienced comment than my raw gut reaction!!!

KR, Jenny
My view is that the contract is with the council and the care home manager needs to take this up with the council. If there isn't an inflation clause in the contract then he shouldn't have signed it!

In my business we are often employed by contractors for design services for the ultimate client and we cannot agree to any changes asked by the client unless we are instructed by the contractor as that is who we are in contract with. I see your case as being similar.

It is still worth getting free advice from an expert in this field.
Thanks Anne, I've sent you a PM. I think I will be making a few phonecalls next week to specialist solicitors/financial advisers to see whether it's worth fighting this.

Jenny - not sure I'm considered to be Dad's guardian, but the fact I hold POA and have been making most decisions about his care for the last year or so probably puts me in a similar position in some ways.

I've let my sisters know of the situation and have asked for their thoughts. If the charge can't be avoided then there is the option of getting Mum to sign the contract and pay the charge, but that will deplete her savings quicker and may force her to downsize quicker than she'd otherwise do. I feel bad as I told her recently that we'd received full funding, with no top up fee for her to pay - I just didn't see this coming! :( But on the other hand, she does have savings and this 'top up' is a lot less than the £8,000 or so she'd have paid if I had just caved into their demands originally. Maybe I should just be pleased about that and accept this charge?

I've already decided I will not be a party to the contract, unless both my sisters also sign to say they will accept a third of the liability. Even then, I'm loathe to put my name on it, because I'm not a high earner and don't exactly lead the high life (last holiday abroad was 7 years ago). I hate it that after all the worry and hassle I've had, trying to do the right thing by both parents and juggle both their finances fairly, that now I've got this further issue to worry about. I want some peace of mind and a rest from all this, but it's hard to find.
SW - completely fail to see why this is ANYTHING to do with you! It's between the care home and the council - and your father.

It doesn't matter a jot whether you have PoA or have been making decisions for him - unless some 'court of law' has appointed you your father's legal guardian, his well being and his affairs are UTTERLY not your legal responsibility!

This business is blatant buckpassing by the care home and the council, and is a complete try-on!

Don't even THINK of signing that guarentee that you will pay ANYTHING, and don't let your sisters or your mother either. You are being used as a wallet by either the care home or the council or both!

I'm quite serious - your father is an adult, and until and unless he is assigned by the state, via due process, to the guardianship of another adult, or the state itself, his affairs are nothing to do with anyone else!

Just refer everything back to the council and tell them to sort it out with the care home. NOT YOUR PROBLEM.

If you show ANY weakness both the care home and the council will exploit you if they can.

At tAt the very, very least get your own legal advice on this before you sign anything, or guarentee a brass farthing!
Hi All,
Just a little tip when trying to speak to Social services about getting a social worker to come out and do an assessment for a loved one. Always ask for the managers details of the person you are talking to,or try and find out. Then if you don'
t get a response in a timely manner,just keep going up the chain till you do !
A while ago I mentioned a court case regarding charging, but at the time couldn't find the relevant papers - just reappeared as I plough through my paperwork mountain!!!
If you regard your parents house as your "home" even if you don't live there, it may be possible to get the value of the home disregarded when the parent goes into residential care. This is my unofficial summary of
"The Relatives Property Disregard: Guidance to local authorities on how to apply the relative property disregard in the light of the judgment in the Walford v Worcestershire County Council judicial review". I do hope this helps someone. (If the moderator thinks this should be put somewhere else, feel free to move it!)
Hi Bowling Bun, Help - I've just read your posts about NOT SIGNING to pay a top-up. Too late - I've sent off an agreement to pay a top-up for my mother's care. I've been under heavy pressure from the social services to find her a long-term care home as they needed to discharge her from Rehab after her hip fracture. They did send me a bed vacancy list for homes they had contracts with but these homes were terrible - dirty and depressing - I couldn't let my mother go to one of those. The home that I eventually found is much nicer but Social Services said I would need to pay £185 per week top-up, after their contribution and her contribution, as she is not allowed to top up from her own savings (less than £23K). Didn't feel I had a choice - they said if I don't agree she will be moved into a cheaper home... No idea what to do - can't afford to pay for more than 1-2 months .. I'm not even sure how long the home will allow her to stay there anyway as they are complaining that she is very demanding with chronic anxiety and shouts out all day and night for staff. I have asked if she could be assessed for CHC but was told that I was wasting my time as she didn't qualify. I've no idea what's going to happen - it's a nightmare. Any advice would be very greatly appreciated.
jenny lucas wrote:SW - completely fail to see why this is ANYTHING to do with you! It's between the care home and the council - and your father.

It doesn't matter a jot whether you have PoA or have been making decisions for him - unless some 'court of law' has appointed you your father's legal guardian, his well being and his affairs are UTTERLY not your legal responsibility!

This business is blatant buckpassing by the care home and the council, and is a complete try-on!

Don't even THINK of signing that guarentee that you will pay ANYTHING, and don't let your sisters or your mother either. You are being used as a wallet by either the care home or the council or both!

I'm quite serious - your father is an adult, and until and unless he is assigned by the state, via due process, to the guardianship of another adult, or the state itself, his affairs are nothing to do with anyone else!

Just refer everything back to the council and tell them to sort it out with the care home. NOT YOUR PROBLEM.

If you show ANY weakness both the care home and the council will exploit you if they can.

At tAt the very, very least get your own legal advice on this before you sign anything, or guarentee a brass farthing!
Hi Jenny,
Too late - I've already signed. I posted under this topic - sent to Bowling Bun. I can't pay £185 a week for more than 1-2 months without going bankrupt. I have no idea what to do. Would be really grateful for any advice...
70 posts