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Posted on: 08 Nov, 18

Have you thought about the cost of care in later life? One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is Britain’s ageing population. There is continually much talk about later life care in the media, and it’s a subject that is going to be one of the biggest social challen ges in the coming years.

As later life care becomes more prevalent, whether you are considering this for yourself or a relative, the challenge of covering the costs involved can be significant. In addition, the options for funding later life care are fiendishly complex.

Complex, sensitive set of challenges

Looking after the care needs and financial affairs of your loved ones as they grow older presents a complex, sensitive set of challenges. Under the changes proposed in the Care Act 2014, which received the Royal Assent in May 2014 and which came into effect in April 2016, the funding of elderly care changed significantly.

One of the perceived benefits under the new system is that eligible care costs are to be subject to a lifetime cap from 2020. This is not as beneficial as it may seem, however, because the cap does not include the ‘board and lodging’ element of the care costs, which currently normally exceeds £1,000 per month. Furthermore, the legislation provides that these costs may be varied in line with average earnings.

Destroying any hopes of passing wealth

Within a matter of only a few years, a family’s assets built up over generations can disappear in the payment of care home fees. Choosing the wrong approach can bleed families dry financially, destroying any hopes of passing wealth on to the next generation. Increasingly, those in the sandwich generation (a generation of people who care for their ageing parents whilst supporting their own children) also need to be considerate of their future needs, the costs and not becoming a burden on their own children.

Later life care is a very broad term, covering everything from temporary placements for those who need to recuperate from a fall or illness, to round-the-clock dementia care and end-of-life palliative care. You or a family member may need different types of care at different times in life, so it is important to build in flexibility to meet changing needs.

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