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Exploitation of the elderly and the family

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by monsmeg, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. monsmeg

    monsmeg New member

    Dec 14, 2017
    3
    I am looking for people, preferably from Scotland but all info will be appreciated.
    If someone has ever challanged their local council or contacted their MSP in relation to the financial issues concerning someone with dementia who has to pay for her care with her savings/assests.
    I am seeking legal aid to challange the decision that my mother has to pay for her care. She has paid National Insurance contributions for this, therefore I find this a discrimanatory law enforced on her.
    This issue has left her immediate family in potential hardship as she saved to give a gift to her loved ones.
    This dementia law has intentionally deprived families who are in financial difficulties caused even more potential hardship. Any person who is in a similiar situation and has any good advise is welcome to speak out.
    This is inequality at it's best. I am raging. xxx
     
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,853
    Female
    Scotland
    I wonder if you are fairly new to this situation as most of us are resigned to the status quo. There are small “helps” such as free personal care in Scotland and subsided daycare. The biggie of permanent care costs is unresolved as the sheer scale of need is too big a problem so far for any government.

    My advice to parents is to help your family financially if you can rather than storing up savings until your old age when it becomes an asset to be seized for care costs.
     
  3. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,178
    Female
    Chester
    I have to admit I was pretty frustrated when I found out the position.

    Unfortunately it is what it is. There are other battles to fight. Successive governments have promised to address the issue but haven't.

    Don't think it is different for cancer suffers or others with ill health either, social care is means tested and only health care isn't so I've come across cancer sufferers having to self fund care as well.

    As Marion says personal care is free in Scotland, which is where my MIL lives so I am aware of the rules. It isn't free in England so you are better off than my mum is.

    National insurance contributions just go into the same tax pot as everything else, they aren't ring fenced.
     
  4. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,647
    Female
    In an ideal world I'd love the care which my mother has had (she's now in a care home) to be provided free by the local authority. But our local authority is currently spending the minimum legally possible to avoid going bankrupt. So in reality, without self-funding she would have had to wait considerably longer to get considerably poorer care. I am not expecting any money to be left for me at the end of this, but it has made organising her care infinitely easier. I really hope, for her sake, she does not outlive her funds.
     
  5. Jaded'n'faded

    Jaded'n'faded Registered User

    Jan 23, 2019
    471
    Female
    High Peak
    I think it often comes as a shock to find out you have to pay for care if you haven't had anything to do with such things before. I can remember saying, 'What do you mean my mum has to pay? She's ill!' I am sure millions of people think care homes for the elderly are paid for by 'the government'.

    When you find out how the system works it seems absolutely outrageous. If you can recall the govenrment's proposed policy at the last (but one?) election, they wanted to bring in a cap on the total a person would have to pay for care - I think the figure was going to be around £80-100G. The other part of this policy was that you would also get to keep a larger minimum of savings at which point the LA would pick up the bill for care. Currently this figure is about £23,500 - I can't recall what the suggested increase was.

    But this proposal was shouted down and called the Dementia Tax! It was as if people believed that care was currently free and the government intended to start charging, which is pretty much the opposite of what was proposed. I would certainly welcome a cap on total fees paid. So far, my mum's care has cost her over £110,000. That's in a good but ordinary care home (they also take LA residents though they pay far less than my mother does - that is my biggest bugbear about the system.)

    Put bluntly, if mum had hit her head harder and ended up in a coffin rather than a care home, that money would have come my way. (Well, half of it - I have a brother!) Same if she had remained in hospital. So I've had to learn the hard lesson that an imagined inheritance is just that - imaginary. Until mum dies, her money is Her Money and she needs it to pay for her care. Mum never realised this either and would be horrified to know where her money is going - she still thinks I will cop for the lot when she dies and is understandably proud to have saved so much of her earnings.

    Am I resentful? Yes, of course I am! I would be lying if I said otherwise because I could honestly do with that money. But I certainly don't have any right to it. Mum has fairly severe dementia now but no co-morbidities so I can easily see her living for years yet. What the total cost of her care will be doesn't bear thinking about, but that's just how it is.

    In other countries, if the relevant person cannot pay for their own care, the authorities will come to their family and make them pay! So perhaps things could be worse.
     
  6. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,178
    Female
    Chester
    Yes this is true in France, not sure about elsewhere.
     
  7. Ohso

    Ohso Registered User

    Jan 4, 2018
    156
    Just out of interest, how is the care etc funded in Scotland that enables it to be free/subsidised?
    Does it come out of central funds, meaning England and Wales are being unfairly treated within the UK funding pot?
     
  8. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,178
    Female
    Chester
    My understanding is with devolved government there are all sorts of differences between the countries as budgets are devolved

    eg free prescriptions in Wales
    different/lower uni fees in Wales and Scotland
    The funding cap for care at home in Wales is vastly different to that in England, much higher savings level and a maximum amount paid per week.

    We live 5 miles from Welsh border and will be considering which country to live in when we retire with these things in mind as the area we want to move to straddles the border
     
  9. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,647
    Female
    I haven't officially added up the care costs for my mother (too depressing), but since I started doing her finances a few years ago she has spent about £140k. I never expected to get any of her money though, I thought it would disappear one way or another unless she died suddenly and early - and she's left a chunk of it to charity anyway (not that they are likely to see it).
     
  10. la lucia

    la lucia Registered User

    Jul 3, 2011
    591
    I think most people know that social care is not free in the UK.

    The so-called dementia tax was rejected by people who know exactly how the system works. It was actually letting the insurance industry's dodgy equity release schemes into dementia care via the back door.

    It was also unworkable because it wanted to include property assessments into means testing for domiciliary care. Which means the debts in the form of interest rates start piling up from the beginning. Imagine if both parents (like mine) got dementia. And a family carers were totally ignored.

    No one discussed the payment of interest charges on the debt what is effectively a form of equity release and that interest literally increases over time. The analysis of it in the media was dire.

    I'm not sure where these 'other countries' are. Most European countries have variations on national insurance type payments which means their citizens pay more tax.

    Spain, which has the best NHS, has regional variations for funding social care but not much practical provision. But where I used to live, everyone received a no questions asked monthly contribution towards social care from the state and anything above that was means tested.

    It definitely needs dealing with but not via more of the same. The profit motive needs removing and the entire situation needs a radical redesign.
     
  11. RosettaT

    RosettaT Registered User

    Sep 9, 2018
    254
    Female
    Mid Lincs
    My OH is self funding and I don't have a problem with it in principle. Currently he is cared for at home. I am his sole full time carer, he has carers morning and night to help wash & dress him of which I am the second carer.
    What I don't think is fair is if he ever needs a care/nursing home he will pay more because LAs cap what they pay. Why should he pay for his own care and subsidise others? We aren't rich by any means and we only have what we do because we managed to save at the expense of holidays and second hand cars. Sometimes I wish we had not waited for retirement to 'enjoy our time together'.
     
  12. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    The subject of parents wanting to leave money to their children but having to use it for their care is not a new one but a troublesome one. As a 75 year old I have to say I would find it disturbing if my children thought they were entitled to anything when I die. We own our own home, small but comfortable, we have some savings and our only income is a pension.

    We don't know how many years we have left but that money is for our care and welfare and I can't imagine that there's going to be a lot left with the rising cost of living and health care. In spite of having a nationalized health system here, it is not entirely free. A visit to the dermatologist to have a couple of skin biopsies cost me $253 (about 170 pounds) and OH's visit to the dentist was 180 pounds.

    If there's anything left when we are both gone, great but I don't believe that my children should benefit at the expense of people who have less than we do. If we have the money to pay for our needs then that's the responsibility we have.
     
  13. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    16,109
    Toronto, Canada
    @Lawson58 I agree with you. My mother did have a reasonable amount of money but my sister and I always felt it was for her use and not a potential inheritance. She was in care for 15+ years and we spent her money on her. Fortunately, here in Ontario things are far more reasonable than what I hear is the case in the UK, at least for nursing homes. I made sure I bought new clothes every few months, as the laundry at the home took a real toll on Mum's clothes. I did not want her looking shabby.

    As it turned out, Mum's money lasted longer than she did. I would rather have her back.
     
  14. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    1,028
    I agree with @Lawson58 and @Canadian Joanne . Inheritance money from parents is a privilege not a right. My mother-in-law had enough assets to self fund and to be honest, I would rather she had good care which she was paying for . Having money gives people choices, in anything, not just social care. We were able to sort out care quickly and easily for her which we had to do last year in a hurry. She wouldn't have wanted it any other way either
     
  15. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,713
    Female
    London
    People with more money will always somehow subsidise people with less money. It's called a social welfare state, and I for one am very glad it exists. Would you like poor people with dementia on the streets? The money for their care home rooms has to come from somewhere, usually taxation.
     
  16. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,647
    Female
    @Beate yes - and if our relatives outlive their funds they will become the beneficiaries of this as they in turn will be subsidised.

    The problem is that the amount the LA pays is now so low that some care homes just won't take LA at all. The LA used to be the biggest client at my mother's care home, but they stopped taking LA residents because the fee fell to a level where it didn't allow them to provide a good standard of care, and presumably the gap became too big to ask self-funders to compensate. The LAs need to pay a fair rate so that placements are more readily available.
     
  17. imthedaughter

    imthedaughter Registered User

    Apr 3, 2019
    67
    I read my dad's will when I was clearing out his stuff. Bless him, he hoped to leave a £100k estate! As neither of my parents ever saved or had private pensions, or you know, any idea about money, apparently, I did not expect to be left with anything. But my husband's nan keeps telling us we'll get the same amount his sister was given to secure a deposit on her house in her will. Apart from not wanting to think about her dying and us somehow profiting from this which is pretty gross, I'm fully aware it will almost certainly go on care, and so it should!
     
  18. Jaded'n'faded

    Jaded'n'faded Registered User

    Jan 23, 2019
    471
    Female
    High Peak
    I'm moving to the position of thinking care homes should be either private or LA - not both. I have no problem with mum paying - she can afford it. But she worked all her adult life (ditto my dad) and paid her tax and NI. I just don't see why she should now be subsidising LA residents in her CH, (which she is, to the tune of about £200 per week) when surely, she has already paid into the welfare state 'pot' intended to help those who need it, without taking out herself. Should she pay twice over? The lady in the room next door to mum is certainly NOT her responsibility yet mum effectively contributes £200 a week to her care! (And the other LA residents in the home.) If it was £20 a week or even £50, I really wouldn't care but paying £200 more every week is beyond a flippin' joke.

    The problem with homes that take both LA and private residents is the government is getting away with not paying the going rate and the homes are getting away with overcharging private residents to make up the shortfall. If more refused to accept the LA rate, as seems to be the case recently, with homes closing because they are unprofitable, then maybe, just maybe, the govt. would be forced to put more money into social care.
     
  19. la lucia

    la lucia Registered User

    Jul 3, 2011
    591
    Both my parents were self-funding so 'inheritance' doesn't come into it for me because they had very little in the first place, relatively speaking. My father ended his days in a specialist dementia home and I cared for my mother at home which is where she died.

    I find it fascinating how the profit motive is not questioned despite it mostly being relatively recent. Yet it's the privatisation and marketisation of care that's caused many of the problems. Fragmentation of services being one aspect.

    In my late mother's large(ish)village there were sometimes 5 or 6 different care agencies coming into different people every day. That's 6 admin teams and offices, 6 company profits, and a mind numbing, polluting amount of cars in and out rushing off elsewhere. We didn't have much domiciliary care but what little we had was split between agencies and an independent freelancer.

    One of the famous, nationally franchised home care agencies sent £4 million in profits to an offshore location last year.... That's just home care.

    Many of the large chain care homes including the recent famous ones that crashed, were asset stripped by their hedge fund owners. This was one major reason for their financial difficulties. According to the social care trade magazine, investors expect around 12 percent return on their money.

    As I said, none of this was inevitable and nor is it's continuation. It's perfectly possible to design different, non-profit care systems. Whatever they are.

    But sorting care 'quickly and easily' hasn't got anything to do with money and everything to do with timing and location. My parents never had any state help but my mum and I were on the emergency list for 3 mornings get-up care per week and it took 8 months to source the package. Because there are major domiciliary care shortages across England. There's a recruitment crisis. It's pot luck whether your timing is in synch with availability.
     
  20. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    So the system is broken, the structures that are in place are fractured and governments are totally unable to come to grips with finding a solution. But that is a separate issue as to whether we should pay for ourselves if we are able and if that means paying a little extra for some poor soul who is also in need of care then so be it. It's about being socially responsible, being a good neighbour, whatever you want to call it.

    I paid my taxes too and I can't begin to say how I have benefitted in return over the course of my life. It's just about giving back and being thankful for all the good things I have had and will continue to have as a citizen of my country.
     

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