Managing care choices for elderly parents

Autumna, a new website that supports self-funding families in their search for the best care, has recently published an excellent post about the challenges of having parents who urgently need support: https://www.autumna.co.uk/blog/how-your-life-feels-right-now/

It is becoming increasingly common for people to reach a point in their lives where they are balancing a job and their own personal life with the needs of dependent children/grandchildren and elderly parents. This scenario dubbed ‘The sandwich generation’ is often a demanding time in life where guilt and frustration can easily set in.

When elderly parents urgently require more support and the time-consuming investigation is near impossible due to other responsibilities, it can be difficult to know where to start in finding the best care solution. Because we don’t tend to plan for later in life, we don’t know what to look for or where to go for guidance, and, as there is such a huge amount of information out there it can be overwhelming.

A webinar of more than 300 participants who had responsibility for supporting their parents in some way raised the common concerns and queries of family members in this situation. These were:

Planning
Understanding the different service options
Funding
Making decisions on behalf of parents
Managing the emotional challenges
Providing support to parents

Planning
When it comes to care, there is value in planning early to save a lot of worry and stress in the long run. It is a good idea to look at both current and long-term needs of your loved one as not everywhere will cater for every type of care and the cost will vary along the way.

Understanding the different service options
How many different types of care are there? When might I need them? What services does each offer? Not all care homes offer every type of care and it is a good idea to ‘future proof’ requirements wherever possible. For example, you may be looking for residential care for a loved one, but you are aware that they have early onset dementia that will worsen over time. Therefore you would require a dual registered care home which will provide residential, nursing and specialist dementia care.

Funding
Care in the UK is means-tested. If assets are below £23,250 you may be entitled to some state funding for care. If assets are above £23,250 you are classed as a ‘self-funder’ until the threshold of £23,250 is met at which point the Local Authority funding will take over. There are many other queries raised around the funding of care and what you may be entitled to, so it is recommended that you seek independent financial advice to assess your individual circumstances.

You can find out more about your funding options here: https://www.kirbygrangeresidentialhome.co.uk/financial-support/

Making decisions on behalf of parents
Having Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is like an insurance policy, you hope you’ll never have to use it, but if you do, it could make all the difference to you and the life of your loved one. LPAs are not as difficult or expensive as you may think and could save a lot of time, money and stress.

Managing the emotional challenges
It can be a tough dealing with the reversal of roles and honouring a loved one’s autonomy and independence, especially when health declines or a crisis arises. Having tough conversations with a loved one about their needs and sometimes having to overcome their obstinacy can be challenging, and it is important to remember that you and your self-care is important too.

Providing support to parents
Family members are by far the number one source of long-term care supports and services for older adults. Sometimes providing this support is straightforward, but in other cases helping a parent in late-life can be a complicated task. Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed, reach out and ask for help when you need it, be it from other family members, friends, professionals or community resources.

If you are considering Kirby Grange for care for your elderly parent, you can rest assured that our professional and caring team are on hand to provide expert support and guidance for you and your family members at every step of the process.

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