People reluctant to seek financial advice on care homes
FINDING the right home when residential or nursing care is needed for a relative is important to ensure comfort and peace of mind.
Naturally, many people make the time and effort to ensure that the place they choose meets all their relative's needs, at a cost that seems affordable to them at the time. However, people may not take the time to ensure that they are seeking the right information when deciding how to pay for this care in a sustainable and secure way.
Recent research by Partnership, a later life funding specialist, shows that only seven per cent of consumers aged over 45 would turn to a professional adviser for help on planning how they would pay for care home fees. This is despite the average care home fee in England being nearly £38,000 a year.
The research, based on 1,023 interviews to measure attitudes towards care, has revealed that people in this situation are more likely to turn to the Citizens Advice Bureau (46 per cent) or their family (24 per cent). Only 11 per cent would speak to their solicitor and seven per cent to a financial adviser. Yet it is often these least-sought individuals who have the expertise to help people make financial provision that is the most appropriate to their needs.
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The importance of this specialist advice is further reinforced by the way in which people ultimately choose to pay for their long-term care. The same research revealed that more than half of those surveyed would rely on the State to pay for their care, followed by 45 per cent using their pension income and 31 per cent selling their home.
With the downturn in the property market and the tightening of the State's purse strings on care funding, there is a risk that these methods will not be enough to pay for care for as long as it is needed, resulting in the money running out.
This is where appropriately qualified solicitors and financial advisers are often best placed to provide the knowledge and expertise to ensure that people are making the right financial decisions.