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to ask why should I pay for someone else's mum's care home?

(328 Posts)
Ilovexmastime Fri 04-Jan-13 12:29:45

I was just reading my DM's copy of The Express (I like to raise my blood pressure every so often) and came across this article:

It is an article about spending money that we give to the EU on old age care. There is a case study bit in it where a woman is complaining that they had to sell her mum's £140,000 bungalow to pay her £100,000 costs in a care home.

Am I missing something here? Why should I, as a taxpayer, pay for her mum's care home when she has enough money to cover it herself? It wasn't like her mother was ever going to leave the care home and move back home, so why not sell it?

Flatbread Fri 04-Jan-13 13:12:40


I agree with you. There is a sense of entitlement. If people have money, they ought to pay for their old age care.

In France, which has a big welfare state, people have to pay for their old age dare. If they don't have enough, their children have to pay. (At least this is how a French friend explained it to me)

Ultimately, there should be family responsibility. No one should be out on the streets, but nor should people think that they are entitled to state aid, despite having personal resources.

MuddlingMackem Fri 04-Jan-13 13:15:45

Flatbread, I hear what you're saying, but that's one rule for everybody. The problem in the UK at the moment is that there are different rules for different people, and the sensible and responsible ones are being punished for their actions. Where's the incentive to be sensible and responsible?

I don't agree with adult children trying all ways to hang on to their 'inheritance' though, that is just as immoral.

QueenofPlaids Fri 04-Jan-13 13:16:00

And what pray tell do you do if their assets are shared with someone who's still living?

My GF had to go into a home because despite best endeavours my GM could no-longer care for him at home. It was becoming too dangerous for both of them (he lashed out when forgetful, nearly set the place on fire a couple of times).

Seeing as she needed here tiny ex-council flat to, y'know, live in, how were they supposed to fund his care? They already took his works pension leaving her with only the basic state pension to live on.

AuntFini Fri 04-Jan-13 13:17:36

I agree with you OP. And these comments about the feckless layabouts who don't own their own homes, as opposed to the hardworking people who have to sob sob sell their homes to pay for their care are ridiculous.

My nan is 87 and has just moved into a care home. She worked from age of 13 and never owned her own home as she never had that kind of money. That doesn't mean she didn't work hard. She is paraplegic and gets free care in the home.

My parents own their house. If they get to ill to live in their house, they'll sell it to pay to live in a care home. Why should they get it for free if they can afford to pay?

Those that can afford it should pay. Those that can't, they should have state support.

Sick of whingers who complain that they have to sell their parents house. What a shame, you didn't get to keep the money in inheritance, you'll have to be the hardworker who earns their owwn money ey?

mrsjay Fri 04-Jan-13 13:17:48

that old lady has paid for your healthcare the police education blah de blah why shouldn't she get a little something back, she is old and in need of care, and then she could have some savings if she sold her house to get some extras if she wanted or needed,

redexpat Fri 04-Jan-13 13:18:21

But this has led to people not saving for old age, because the state will only pay if you have a tiny amount left.

colleysmill Fri 04-Jan-13 13:21:09

Both my grannies are in care homes because they need 24 hour nursing or residential support.

They come from very different backgrounds and have lived very different lives. My one grandfather was a leading professional in his field and they lived an affluent life. My other grandfather was a Vicar and they lived a very humble lifestyle with very little. One granny has a good pension, the other lived purely on the state pension.

One granny has had to sell her home to pay for her care, my other granny could never afford to buy a home of their own or save any money and so is full funded.

So two sides of the same story. One has assets, the other doesn't but both need a level of care that can't be provided at home.

I honestly don't know what the answer is.

It is fundamentally wrong to have a society that is concerned with protecting the wealth of an individual so that they can pass it on in inheritance to their family rather than using their own money in care.

When people are working and paying taxes they are also benefitting from that society through services and the education of their children.

The argument 'well I paid my taxes so now I should keep my money and benefit from free care' is ridiculous - care homes are £400-£2000 a week - no ones paid enough taxes to cover that!

You come into the world with nothing, maybe we should go out with nothing too?

We have already fucked over future generations by trying to hold on to our wealth and by increasing property prices so they're no longer affordable.

Yes, some will exploit the system - and they are the ones who will end ul with minimum but reasonable care in a govt care home at £400 a week. As with everything if you have more money you will get better care.

It's like that with the benefits system now, some people are reliant on benefits and have a lesser standard of living than the wealthy.

Are you really arguing that people who are poor or piss all their money away are entitled to no care?

No, they're entitled to the minimum care, a reasonable standard of living.

But people with assets to sell them MUST sell them, it's one of the ways property prices will come down. And we must decrease inherited wealth, the gap between rich and poor is unreasonable, divisive and unsustainable.

LilyBolero Fri 04-Jan-13 13:21:21

Scenario 1.

Two people both need to go into a home. One has enjoyed holidays, fast cars etc all their life, and has no assets. The other has never been away on holiday, never had any luxuries, but has worked hard to buy a house. The first is supported by the state, the second has to sell his house, because the state says 'why should we support you?'.

Scenario 2.

Two people have identical assets. One is dxed with cancer and the second is dxed with dementia. The first person with cancer is admitted to hospital, and has their medical and personal care covered by the NHS. The second person is admitted to a home for dementia, but has to pay for their care by selling their house.

Fair? I don't think so.

wewereherefirst Fri 04-Jan-13 13:26:46

Totally discouraging anyone from saving and buying homes really isn't it? Surely everyone should pay for their care to make other fair?

titchy Fri 04-Jan-13 13:31:11

I know. Nobody should be allowed to own a house lest they inconveniently let their offspring inherit it. They'll have to be housed at a cost to the Govt. far greater than the cost of the house they would have bought, but hey better than owning a house and wanting to pass it on!

MummytoKatie Fri 04-Jan-13 13:31:35

It's a messy one where there is no decent answer. The options are:-

1. No one pays for nursing care. Downside is that with the aging population the cost of this will fast get to the point where either taxes will have to go up massively or other services will have to be slashed. (Class sizes of 40? Prescription charges that cover the cost of medicines - even if '00s of £? All operations for chronic but not life threatening pain stopped?)

2. Those that can afford pay by selling their homes. Downside is that it punishes those who have done the sensible thing in their lives.

3. All pay or no care. Downside is what happens to those with no assets. Do we shoot them? Do they block beds in hospitals. (Can't be discharged as need care but can't be sent to a home as no home will take them.)

It is further complicated by the fact that we have a wonderful NHS so we all do believe that we have a right to medical care free at the point of receipt.

Just as an interesting aside dh became a "health tourist" this Xmas. We live in England but were staying with in laws in Wales when dh got very I'll and needed an emergency GP and antibiotics. So we toddled along to the hospital where instead of paying £4+ for parking and £6+ for the prescription we got them both free. Yahoo we said! Until FIL told us that the consultant for his heart problem who works for two hospitals - one in England and one in Wales - has told FIL that if he lived 5 miles over the boarder in England he'd be waiting 4 months for his heart op. but as he is Welsh he will wait 6 months.

It seems there is only so much money. If you put it in one place it can't go somewhere else. Which didn't occur to us as we were cheerfully nabbing our free medicines!

It does not duscourage people from buying property, they enjoy living in it for years before selling.

No one is going to not save, not buy property to have a very basic standard of living in a government care home in old age - unless they're an idiot or are perfectly happy with the very, very minimum in life.

The difference between a cheap care home and an expensive care home are the same as between a crappy house on a crap estate and a mansion in Chelsea.

No one wants that - so they use their assets to pay for the best they can afford, just like people do in every other area if life.

Whenever I read these threads I think people have never visited a posh care home with marble floors, water features, tai chi in the extensive grounds and facilitated trips to the Algarve.

And then compared them to an nhs waiting room with threadbare carpets, an old tv in the corner on an industrial estate in Slough.

AngelsWithSilverWings Fri 04-Jan-13 13:39:26

Lily - that's was happened to my DH's Grandmother and Great Aunt.

Both were in their late 90's and owned small bungalows. Both lived very frugally and had never ever been on holiday. They had the bare minimum of possessions. Both had vast sums in savings accounts though.

Grandmother developed dementia and most of the value of her house and the contents of her savings account was used to pay for her care until she died age 100.

Her sister was injured while crossing the road and spent a year in hospital before dying at the age of 98 with her assets and savings in tact.

My PIL are so angry about the care costs and the inheritance tax they had to pay out that they are spending their money like mad to get rid of it! I'm talking four holidays a year and very generous gifts to her DCs. Before this they were also really careful with money and hated sending money.

Not sure I agree with them but I can see how they feel!

3littlefrogs Fri 04-Jan-13 13:39:34

If you are self funding, you pay almost twice as much for the same care home as the state pays. Also, SS take all your pension, savings and assets. you aren't allowed more than £10 per week spending money.

With both my parents and my PIL SS wouldn't even assess needs without full financial disclosure. IME it is nearly impossible to hang onto any of your money/pension/assetts if you need care, so I don't know who these people are who are managing to keep their "inheritance" and get state funding. They must be the exception rather than the rule.

My dad is blind and wheelchair bound and has a colostomy. None of his needs count as "health care". Only "social care", for which he has to pay.

My sister cared for my parents for 15 years at the cost of her own health, her job and her pension. If anyone deserved an inheritance she did. But it all went into the pockets of the owners of the care home when eventually she could no longer cope. It is a very lucrative business - fees are around £800 per person per week. The staff are on minimum wage, so someone is doing alright.

BumpingFuglies Fri 04-Jan-13 13:40:22

What Lily said

If you are going to exclude care in old age from the welfare state, you should exclude NHS healthcare, dentistry, schools, and so on.

And at what point did the woman in the article say she was pissed off at not inheriting the money? She said she was sad for her mother.

It is fundamentally wrong to have a society that is concerned with protecting the wealth of an individual so that they can pass it on in inheritance to their family rather than using their own money in care.

No. It is fundamentally wrong to force people to pay for something they have already paid for in taxes. That's what the Welfare State is there for.

BunFagFreddie Fri 04-Jan-13 13:41:03

"May as well just blow all the money while alive if it is going to the state when we die. "

That's what I'm starting to think. We won't even get a state pension and I can't afford a private one. I think the plan is to eventually just work people to death and then steal their money and houses!

Hammy02 Fri 04-Jan-13 13:43:37

Is there a way around it? For example, the parent gives their home to their children, years before they may ever need care? It is only natural that children want their inheritance rather giving it to the government. It seems that once again, the middle earners are stung.

Whatdoiknowanyway Fri 04-Jan-13 13:43:48

My dad went into a care home which he paid for fully from his savings and would have paid from the sale of his house if he had lived long enough.

He had dementia. State assessment judged that he merited 1 x 15 minute visit by a carer every day. That was it. He was not eligible for a care home even though he needed everything done for him (I did it). He could wash and dress himself, put the kettle on and heat things up in the microwave but that was it. He had no sense of danger, burnt himself, left taps running, went wandering on icy pavements with no coat in mid winter...

If he was dependent upon state care he would have had no choice but to stay in his own home. If he had been assessed as eligible for a care home he would have had limited choice about which home he went into. As it was he was able to go into care at a time which suited him and his family and to choose the home which best suited his needs.

Just because you need care doesn't always you are deemed eligible for state care or that that care will be in the form you want.
I never expected to inherit anything from my parents. They had a nice house but I assumed all its value would be used up on their care.

Whatdoiknowanyway Fri 04-Jan-13 13:45:26

Just to make it clear. Dad was not eligible for a care home because the authorities didn't think his condition was bad enough to merit one. We disagreed and fortunately for us were able to pay for care. If we we not able to do this then we would have been stuck.

cumfy Fri 04-Jan-13 13:52:22


Economics pretty much dictate that, on the average, everyone's life-time income balance their life-time outgoings.

To then just subsidise inheritance makes no economic sense.

It's not 'going to the state' -it's paying to look after you.

And no, you have not paid enough in taxes to cover 800 a week in a care home for years until you die - its basic maths.

Yet again it's about selfishness, giving all your money away so you don't have to pay for your own care. And imagine envying someone who died quickly so they 'preserved their assets' - wtf.

EauRouge Fri 04-Jan-13 13:55:50

My grandparents aren't doing so well and they really need to go into sheltered accommodation. However, they are reluctant because they don't want all of us to lose out on our inheritance. We've all said that we don't give a monkeys and that we'd rather see them looked after properly but they've been sensible with their money all these years with the plan that it would go to their family, not on themselves. I can understand where they are coming from but it's so worrying seeing them struggle on sad

colleysmill Fri 04-Jan-13 13:56:11

Interestingly my one granny with dementia was only assessed as needing a care home after she had fallen and broken her arm very badly but was not eligible when she set fire to her kitchen in her warden controlled flat.

cumfy Fri 04-Jan-13 13:56:37

No. It is fundamentally wrong to force people to pay for something they have already paid for in taxes. That's what the Welfare State is there for.

The Welfare State is insurance, a safety net.
It's not there to fund £250k gifts.
Trouble is people get around it anyhow.

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