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so what's yr take on having to sell yr house when old to fund yr care home?

(184 Posts)
herjazz Sat 03-Oct-09 09:53:50

so in light of this what dyou reckon?

Whilst I think care for the elderly is pretty shoddy and needs looking into, I'm not against folk with reasonable assets paying towards it. Why do they need to own a house they are not living in? Why should inheritance be seen as an automatic right?

I could be due to inherit loads off my folks - but if they end up having to cash in their assets to pay for more appropriate housing and care requirements then surely that's just them using THEIR money as they should? I shouldn't be moaning their assets stay intact and untouched so I can cream off them once they are dead?

alwayslookingforanswers Sat 03-Oct-09 10:08:29

well one could argue that if care for the eldery was better funded then more of them would be able to stay at home.

I used to work in a residential home for the elderly, and believe me a large number of the residents could still have been living at home with support (and a little modification to their homes).

One woman had a husband that didn't require care, they were forced to sell the home so she could get the care, and he didn't so ended up in a council bungalow. Of course most of their savings went on her care. So there was an active elderly man reduced to nothing all because his wife had dementia.

violethill Sat 03-Oct-09 10:15:30

Hm, tricky on herjazz.

While I can see the argument that inheritance shouldn't be seen as an automatic right, I think a lot of people in this country are fed up to the back teeth of being right royally screwed for being prudent, working hard, and paying their way all their life.

It's not just care for the elderly, it's many other aspects of life. Sometimes just seems that if you work hard, build up some savings, try to be self sufficient, and not a drain on the resources of the county, you just get stuffed at every turn. Whereas as if you don't, you'll be ok, because the state will bail you out.

herjazz Sat 03-Oct-09 10:22:57

Absolutely. I agree with care in the home being the best thing. I would hope that is what will happen with my folks - or they can move into our already adapted bungalow (having a disabled child has kind of prepared me in some ways - though could equally mean I wasn't able to)

Not having a pop at people who cannot / do not wish to look after their elderly parents mind. My mum tried it herself with her dad and simply couldn't cope. Aye - she had no support at all and a young family of her own. It was the frustration of dealing with his dementia and her physical struggle to move him that got to her. He ended up in a vile care home

ABetaDad Sat 03-Oct-09 10:24:38

Bottom line is someone has to pay for this. If old people sit in massively overpriced family houses they no longer need refusing to sell them to young families who need them, refusing to pay property taxes and then expecting the state (i.e younger tax payers) to pay for their care then the young will either leave the country or vote in a Govt who wil reduce the tax burden on them and force the old to sell their houses to pay for care.

This is going to be the root cause of a massive intergenerational battle before too long.

alwayslookingforanswers Sat 03-Oct-09 10:31:47

but ABeta - they're not all sitting in huge family homes, the case I mentioned were living in a modest 2 up 2 down house.

It happened to my grandparents as well. My grandad still had his mind intact right up until the end. But it broke his heart that he could no longer spend money on the stuff he'd saved all his life for.

Being forced out of your home is often a devestating thing for anyone, but particualrly elderly, vulnerable people.

But it doesn't just happen to old people - it happens to younger people who suddenly find themselves needing care. SS only pays for so much, but it's rarely enough, so to get the care they require they're forced to sell their home.

And of course lets not forget with currenty house prices they are many young families who couldn't afford to buy these "massively overpriced" family homes. Many of them are lucky to be able to afford a tiny place.

twirlymum Sat 03-Oct-09 10:40:36

We have an aging population, the money can't just magically appear, it has to come from somewhere. With medical advances and better living conditions generally, people are living longer.
The state (whichever party is in charge) simply would not have the resources to pay for residential / home help for everyone.
Some care homes cost around £700 per week.

2shoes Sat 03-Oct-09 10:57:18

I wonder if you ge a refund if you don't use it?
my dad thought he and sm would need a care home at sometime, but they both died with out using one, so that would have been 16 thousand they would have laid out for nothing..

alwayslookingforanswers Sat 03-Oct-09 10:58:27

and "informal" carers save the government £57billion a year.

The thing is - once the equity from the house sale runs out the government pays anyhow.

There are people in care homes up and down the country that with modifications to their homes, would only require a small amount of help - no where near £700 a week (or other care home costs).

We had one lady in there I never quite understood why she was there. We would take her breakfast, we'd help her bath, and occasionally she'd ask for help getting dressed. She signed a sheet to say she didn't want checking on at night, and although she had the buzzer she never used it (was of "sound mind" so would have known how to if she needed to).

She'd already been in the home for 7 years, (died last year apparently - 10yrs after she went in). Her savings pot was long since used up and tax payers were paying for this minimal care at extremely high cost.

That's not unusual, there are probably 1000's of people in care homes (probably not nursing homes though as they do tend to need a higher level of care) who don't need to be there, and for a small (relative) initial outlay could actually be staying in their homes. Receiving care that cost a hell of a lot less than their care home place does.

But considering the government saves all that money on informal carers (by giving them a pittance for their efforts) I can't see the situation improving for those that need "outside" carers to help them.

scarletlilybug Sat 03-Oct-09 11:09:12

Difficult one.

I think part of the problem is that the current "system" as it is appears to penalise people for working hard and "standing on their own two feet" and indirectly reward the less responsible.

Take two people of similar incomes - one works hard and is frugal, saving up money to live on in retirement, buys their own home, wants to offer some form of inheritance to their kids after they've gone. The other one "lives for the day" - nice holidays, nice car, etc, - but no savings, no pension plan, rented home.

The frugal person will end up losing virtually all he has worked for if he ends up having to sell his home to pay for nursing care in later life. Meanwhile the less responsible person is looked after by the state. How can that be fair? And how can that encourage future generations to make provisions for their own retirement?

vinblanc Sat 03-Oct-09 11:14:50

2shoes, the £8000 is a payment into an insurance fund. There is no refund if you are lucky enough not to need it. And most people will not need to tap into it, as we know that £8000 is a drop in the ocean when it comes to care.

vinblanc Sat 03-Oct-09 11:16:36

Scarlett, there is no appearing about it. Prudent, hard-working people do get penalised for being responsible. And it's only going to get worse.

2shoes Sat 03-Oct-09 11:35:29

bit of a con then imo

zubin Sat 03-Oct-09 11:55:38

I agree somebody has to pay for it but it seems again those that have worked hard all their lives are being penalised - and let's face it those that have worked all their lives have already paid once by paying their taxes all their lives, my parents for example have worked hard all their lives, paid taxes all their lives and have never claimed any state benefits (except child benefit!) they have of course benefited from nhs etc but in my view they have already paid enough into the system not to have to pay for care if they need it when they are older. There are many savings that can be made elsewhere the funding allocated to caring for the 'elderly' is rubbish in comparison to other groups

vinblanc Sat 03-Oct-09 12:01:44

It's not a con - it's insurance. Everyone pays into a fund and only the misfornate ones get to draw on it.

You insure your house against fire, right? You don't want to use it, presumably. It is there as a last resort.

And presumably the scheme is voluntary? No one is forcing you to put your £8000 into it.

3littlefrogs Sat 03-Oct-09 12:05:37

My mum worked all her life (in the NHS)and paid tax on her earnings and saved for an occupational pension.

Her state pension goes straight back to the tax man 100%. Because she had a tiny bungalow and savings, she has to turn over ALL her occ. pension to the care home (she has dementia, sell her home to pay the fees, and she is not allowed more than 10£ per week spending money.

She had to sell her home to pay care home fees.

Because she is "self funding" she has to pay £600 per week. The local authority pays £300 per week for the residents who are state funded. The actual cost is £500 per week, so my mum's fees are topping up the state payment.

We cared for mum at home for 10 years before she became so unwell we could no longer cope. Any help from social services (eg respite) during this time had to be paid for by us, at top rate. Careers and health were sacrificed in order to do this, and we must have saved the state a fortune.

It is hard not to feel the system is unfair.

vinblanc Sat 03-Oct-09 12:16:59

Sorry to hear that, frogs.

My mum has dementia too and is actually permanently in hospital with it. I don't know the ins and outs of the finances as I live a long way away. I do know that one of my brothers has basically stolen all their money as both parents are vulnerable adults, . One thing I am certain of is that there will be absolutely no inheritance! Everything my dad worked for has gone.

With the aging of the population, dementia is going to be a big thing and most families will not escape from having to deal with it. Insurance schemes will have to radically change in order for us to be able to afford to treat our elderly population as they deserve.

I would much rather support the elderly than reckless single mothers, tbh.

alwayslookingforanswers Sat 03-Oct-09 12:20:39

"I would much rather support the elderly than reckless single mothers, tbh. "


solo Sat 03-Oct-09 12:30:33

Well, I personally would sign my house over to my children well in advance of any possibility of going into a care home, because if I was in a council house, I wouldn't have anything to sell to fund it, so why should I give everything I've already worked for, to be 'cared for' in my old age? My house is all I've got and due to the fact that my Dc's are never likely to be able to afford to get on the property ladder, they can have mine as their first rung or two!

fruitshootsandheaves Sat 03-Oct-09 12:31:56

My dad has demetia. We are currently trying to sort things out so that we can sell our house and his house and he can move in wih us. It is really upsetting to see him now. He often cries beacuse he no longer thinks he is clever as he can't remember basic things, has trouble getting dressed and can't read anymore. It's horrid. If it doesn't work out, or we can't find a house in our price range I think we will build in our garden. He would hate to go into a care home.

edam Sat 03-Oct-09 12:35:21

abetadad does have bit of a point - the madness over house prices over the past few decades has essentially meant a huge transfer of wealth from younger to older generations. Not every older person, obv. but swathes of them who bought their own homes in the days when a family of four with one parent working as a teacher could afford a decent family home.

If you do need to go into a residential or nursing home, you obviously don't need your own house any more. Why should all the other taxpayers subsidise your childrens' inheritance?

I get the point that people have paid tax all their lives - but so does everyone who is around now who is paying out for their care.

But on the other hand I do see the unfairness that the state invents this line between medical/nursing and hotel care. Elderly people thought the NHS would look after them in old age.

solo Sat 03-Oct-09 12:40:21

So...we the current working generation pay for the current aging population and then we again pay for our own...?! not if I can help it!

Due to crap ex husbands, it'll have taken me 36 years to pay for my house. It's my children's future.

dollius Sat 03-Oct-09 12:40:54

Just "signing" your house away won't take it out of your estate for these purposes solo. You would have to stop living in it and properly give it away, pay stamp duty etc etc.
And why do you feel taxpayers should pay for your care rather than it coming out of your own assets?

Anifrangapani Sat 03-Oct-09 12:41:58

Many of the problems stem from inappropriate housing. A little thought at the planning stage of new houses goes a long way to enabling elderly people stay on in their own homes.

I live in a bungalow built fot elderly people - it was on the market for 2 years before we bought it, because although the house is all level access there are steep steps and no parking to get into the property.

Plans are in place to make all houses "future proof", however many house builders are still building to minimum standards. So where the advice is to lower light switches and have a downstairs bathroom many are still being built with shoulder height light switches and a drain being put under the bath as "level access shower" provision. Several houses with downstairs "bathrooms" are large WCs and again a drain. They do not have room to turn a frame or wheelchair.

By putting in wetrooms ( same cost as a traditional bathroom) and having wider door ways the cost of adapting a house ( around 20K) could go some way to providing personal care.

The other thing that irritates me is that there are contractors / companies who prey on vulnerable people by charging huge amounts for walk in baths which leave an elderly person cold while the bath drains before the person can get out. There are also a number of contractors who charge vastly over the odds for adapted showers. Care and Repair agencies will have a list of fully checked / insured contractors who will be paid via the agency so have a vested intrest in giving a good deal.

Small tip is to get people onto a direct payment for their personal care before they are 65. It will carry on even past 65. Ask your local independent living centre for details.

solo Sat 03-Oct-09 12:42:18

Fruitshoots, I'm with you on that too...I'd never put my own Mum into a care home. She'd live with me.

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