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to think I should spend all my money before I need care - we all end up in the same place anyway

(17 Posts)
pingu2209 Wed 08-Jun-11 11:29:34

The government's long-term care czar has said we should all downsize to help pay for our care in our old age.

However, if the care we recieve when we are very old and frail is exactly the same whether we pay for it ourselves or whether the state does, which I believe is the case (please correct me if I am wrong), what incentive is there to save?

So lets just say I get to 65 and live in my large 4 bed detached house with large garden and double garage. I am being advised to sell it and move into a 2 bed semi detached bungalow and keep the money aside to pay for my care should I get to the age when I am very old and frail and need care.

So 20 years down the line, I am 85, I move into a care home, which I am paying for (at £800/week), and am housed next door to someone who's care is being paid for by the state - because that person doesn't have any money.

Sod that. If that is the option we are being given, I will downsize at 65 (or younger) and spend it all on really lovely holidays and days and meals out. I will help out my children and (God willing) grandchildren. I will take that round the world cruise, long weekends away with Warners etc. Do all those things whilst I have my health and mental agility.

Then when I get really old and frail and need care, there will be no more money left and the goverment will have to pay for my care (which I would have paid for already in my MASSIVE taxes all my life anyway).

Am I unreasonable to think this way?

AtYourCervix Wed 08-Jun-11 11:33:15

nope. those who are able to downsize and save for care when they are old will get nice care homes, with enough well trained staff.

those who can't save or who don't have houses to sell will get second class care, in poorer environments, with staff with only the very basic relevant training..

same as everything health or social care related in the future.

fgaaagh Wed 08-Jun-11 11:38:20

AtYourCervix, does the mix of state cared for elderly folk and privately cared for individuals not happen then?

I'm clueless about this.

I'd imagined that money can buy you choice if you have significant amount of cash to sustain yourself, but, say you have £10k or £20k or a bit more (i.e. a nice lump sum but certainly not going to keep you in a private care home with fantastic facilities/staff for more than, say 1, 2 or 3 years..)... isn't it the case that those "middle" folk end up in the mixed ones? If there is such a thing?

I.e. it might be the case where you're best having nothing, or saving a LOT. Not ending up in the middle where you scrimp for decades, end up with a small pot of cash, which is rapidly used up and you end up with the first bunch of people (where they had nothing) anyway.


fgaaagh Wed 08-Jun-11 11:40:10

I guess I'm coming at this from the angle of it being similar to the households who earn just over the threshold to get free school meals, optician vouchers, help with prescriptions, etc - but end up feeling very very strapped for cash when it comes to folk that earn a couple of grand less each year... i.e. those trapped in the middle of social care/benefits provision.

If you retire with just enough that the government won't help you for free, but certainly haven't been able to put away a decent amount that will keep you - what is the POINT of doing it?

pingu2209 Wed 08-Jun-11 11:41:23

Is that really the case, Cervix? I thought that a care home is a care home is a care home.

My step father's parents ended up in semi-private sheltered housing. They had a nice (tiny) flat next door to someone who had the exact same flat. Their flat was paid for my the state and they only had to pay 10% of their council tax. Their neighbour had to pay for their sheltered housing and 100% of their council tax.

I think there are Very expensive private care homes that are luxury, but those are way beyond a 'standard' person's home. If you lived in a 3 bed semi or detached house and downsized to a 1 bed flat or terrace. There still wouldn't be enough money to pay for those decent care homes. You would need to be in a huge mega expensive house and downsize to free up loads of capital to pay for that type of care home.

If you are just a normal joe, you still end up in the same places as state funded people. There are so few 100% state funded care homes that the state pay for flats/rooms in private care homes. That is why people are ending up paying for care that is exactly the same as the people who haven't saved.

fgaaagh Wed 08-Jun-11 11:44:34

pingu2209, that was my understanding too.

When we're talking about private care homes, I'm imaginging the types where 90% of the working/middle class population retire.

Not the type where their monthly care fees are the equivalent of a fulltime wage in a decent job i.e. £5k a month or something very high (relatively) in cost. Not the type of care home where you have luxury accommodation, amazing onsite facilities to rival a country club, etc...

cory Wed 08-Jun-11 11:44:38

I used to think a bit like this. But when my MIL suddenly became paralysed from spinal cancer at the age of 83, we realised what a huge difference in terms of care money could buy her. The hospital were desperate to discharge her and even wanted to send her home (where there was noone to look after her and she couldn't even have gone to the loo, let alone got herself downstairs). There was not a single state care home that could cope with her needs in the county, or within travelling distance of either of her sons.

I used to think "choice" meant life's little luxuries- like pretty decor or nicer food. Now I realise it meant the opportunity to have a poo and get out of bed in the morning.

AtYourCervix Wed 08-Jun-11 11:44:48

don't know really but i think if your care is paid by social services they pay X amount and that is it, so you have to find a care home where the bill is X or you can top it up out of your savings (as long as it is under the savings threashold) as long as you can. When the savings are gone you then have to move to a cheaper facility. The amount paid by social services wouldn't cover the more expensive facilities so you have less choice of where to live.

So yes - i think the wealthy will be in more 'nice' expensive places and the poor will be segragated into other places.

ChristinedePizan Wed 08-Jun-11 11:44:52

No, a care home is not a care home is not a care home. Having said that, if you're not all there, you might not notice that much if your surroundings are very nice. State benefits iirc is capped at £400/week so if you're in an expensive home, you get moved before your cash runs out. Better/cheaper to stay in your own home and have an army of people coming in to look after you IMO

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-Jun-11 11:45:29

YABU because you can't read the future. If you blow all the cash at 65 you might then be saddled with another 20 years of life with no money, and not requiring a care home either. If you don't rely on the state for your standard of living today, why expect any government to look after your properly in your old age?

AtYourCervix Wed 08-Jun-11 11:46:28

or if you are 'lucky' you get to stay in your own home and have up to 4 care visits a day, during which time you get the chance to move, change position, eat, drink, talk. 4 times a day. Maximum.

pingu2209 Wed 08-Jun-11 12:11:48

CogitoErgoSometimes - I can see your POV but at the moment I pay for myself and pay HUGE amount of taxes to pay for my medical care on the NHS. I am not talking about sheltered housing, I am talking about a proper care home because I am not able to look after myself due to ill health or dementia.

On the basis I would have paid at least £2-3k a month in taxes all my working life, yes I would expect the NHS to meet (pay for) my medical care.

Also, I wouldn't blow it all in 1 year. Lets say I had £200k pot of cash in today's terms (yes I would have downsized a lot). I could have a very nice life and enjoy holidays to Bournmouth or whatever and live that life for at least 10 years.

I would then be 75 and if the money got too low to continue it - well at least I would have had a bloody good time. Then if I needed to have medical care - I expect the NHS to pay. That is what I have paid taxes for all my life.

cory Wed 08-Jun-11 12:12:23

The problem is, you won't know whether you you will be able to stay safely in your home or not. MY MIL never envisaged a future in which she would be paralysed from the waist down. And she would almost certainly notice if she could never get to the loo!

pingu2209 Wed 08-Jun-11 12:17:41

Cory - very sorry about your MIL. But IMO her needs were medical. The NHS should have paid. Your MIL and FIL would have paid their taxes for over 60 years. Your MIL should have been in a care home or hospital that could meet her medical needs.

The hospital are not allowed to discharge patients when their medical needs can not be looked after where they are going to. I guess this is deemed 'bed blocking'.

If you MIL had loads of money - would there have been a private care home who would have been able to meet her needs?

Sorry - I don't want to be upsetting.

AtYourCervix Wed 08-Jun-11 12:20:12

and you probably won't need 'medical' care. you'll need 'social' care (dementia isn't classed as medicl aor nursing care). The NHS doesn't pay for that. Although trying to separate the 2 is impossible and makes my brain hurt even trying to think about it.

AtYourCervix Wed 08-Jun-11 12:22:19

even paralysis, mobility problems, being unable to wash or dress yourself, or take your medication are not 'nursing' or 'medical' needs. still social.

cory Wed 08-Jun-11 12:27:18

yes, pingu, she should have been: but there was no such home at a reasonable (=taxpayer friendly) cost in her part of the country because her needs are rather special

so it was a choice between paying for a private care home (which is what she did, being reasonably well off) or move so far away that she would lose all contact with her family

she is absolutely fine, loving her private care home

but it is a fairly luxurious place- not the kind of place the NHS would have paid for

if she had stayed in hospital she would have had medical care, but would have had to stay in bed and certainly not get the chance to go on outings or have a social life- which does matter as she may well live another 10 years and is in fine fettle mentally

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