New, a technophobe and in a heap of trouble!

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Hilary, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. Hilary

    Hilary Registered User

    Apr 17, 2006
    18
    Oxfordshire
    #1 Hilary, Apr 17, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2006
    Hi, I've just joined this group today and I really don't know where to start. A gun, a bottle of whisky and about 100 aspirin seemed a good idea for all of about 10 seconds, but then I have a friend who rang me tonight and suggested looking at this site. :)

    My problem is that I've got more than one - problem, that is. I live in Oxfordshire, my father (who is the sufferer) lives in Hampshire with his wife, my stepmother, who has both breast and bone cancer and anywhere between tomorrow and five years to live. Both of them want my husband and me to care for my dad when my stepmother either goes into hospice care and/or dies. But I have health problems of my own looming in that I have arthritis, and we bought a small bungalow so that I wouldn't have stairs to worry about and we could easily look after it.

    Humph....what is it they say about 'the best laid plans'??:rolleyes:

    Added to which, many years ago I worked for my father and during that time he did not pay NI contributions for me, so for a quarter of my working life I have nothing to contribute towards my pensionable years. I'm 53 this year so they are looming very fast on the horizon!:( The money that he was to leave me for a pension fund he now wants to use to build an extension and adapt the bungalow for his needs as well as mine, but again, no pension for me if that happens. (If you think I'm overly concerned about a pension fund, I have only two words to say about the residue of my personal provision: Equitable Life. ) And, of course, ultimately he will need nursing care in a residential home which worries me - will the funding for that have to come from the sale of our home which he paid to improve, and because of that 'they' will seize the asset to pay for his care?

    I have to assume that in the light of best available information, my stepmother is leaving all her worldly wealth to her cousin and nothing to either contribute towards his care or to leave to me - they've only been married for 5 years, although the reason I'm not in charge of a family business now is because she ensnared my father 20 years prior to their marriage, and I had to care for my abandoned mother for eight years when he sold both the business and their house. After my mother died, at the time they married, each had agreed that they would leave their wealth to their own family.

    Any legal eagles out there? Am I going to be penalized under the 7year 'gift' rule - assuming that we look after dad until the inevitable happens - he's 86 now and I love him dearly, but his Alzheimer's isn't too bad ATM. I don't know who to contact to get help for all of us, or where to start in getting the problems sorted out. And that's before we even think about alterations to the house!

    Help!!:confused: All contributions that can shed light on this will be gratefully received, including on whether or not this has made it's way to the right area!

    Hilary

    Having read this through it does seem that my prime concern is about money. Well, there are so many problems concerned with this issue and we have no financial reserves to speak of; my husband's ingeritance from his family was used up in making alterations to the house we had many years ago to care for my mother who became disabled with severe osteoporosis and was in care for the last 17 weeks of her life, which took care of most of her estate. So you can see I'm worried that history is repeating itself, but most of all I'm worried about whether I shall get any help in caring for my lovely dad (rotten husband, lovely dad!), and whether at the end of the day matters will be taken out of my hands anyway! Can we get any outside nursing assistance while he is with us and financial assistance to help with building costs so that his funds are preserved either for his eventual residential care or for my pension fund, and if so how do I go about getting it?
     
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    268
    Bucks
    What a pickle

    Hi Hilary

    my, what a situation. I'm guessing at answers here, but I hope others will also chip in (I'm glad you found TP, by the way, and hope itwill be a help to you as it's been to so many).

    Firstly, unless your home is in your father's name, I don't see that it can be forced for sale to pay for his care. It's the sufferer's own property that is called upon.

    Secondly, you don't say what care is already in place for him. I'm assuming he's been diagnosed? Are there GPs, CPNs and social services already involved? If not, this sounds like a time to take action and find a way of involving them. You're going to need help sooner or later, so get in place as soon as you can.

    My third point is harder to type, and I hope I don't cause any offence. Are you sure you want to take him to live with you and your husband? - it sounds as if you have enough on your plate (and enough to come) and have made sacrifices already. If your father's "not too bad" at the moment, could care be put in place to let him continue to live in his own home? (Moving someone with AD is something to do only where the move has benefits as a result - the actual move can be very unsettling for them.)

    Sorry these are as much questions as answers, but your message reads as if the future is a fait accompli, when it might be worth thinking how set in stone future events might be. If nothing else (at risk of sounding hard hearte) I'd say you need to remember your own needs:if you sacrifice those, you'll hinder your ability to help your Dad.

    The Society has a legal helpine, and I'd suggest that they'd be a good first point of call for you. And I hope others will be able to offer more concrete legal opinion.
     
  3. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    #3 Amy, Apr 17, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2006
    Hiya Hilary,
    Bit of a daunting posting this one, I think that's why we are all a bit slow to reply,
    but I will have a go.
    I echo Dave's thought, what do you and your husband want? You have to consider the affect that it could have on your health and relationship.
    As I see it cash used could be viewed as a gift, therefore you may be liable to tax if your father died within 7 years. You would need to seek legal advice as to whether your father's name be added to the legal title. The asset cannot be seized, but take advice on how best to deal with the situation if you go down this route.
    Yes, there is help available, but what you pay for would depend on your father's assets. Others will tell you what the limit is for when you become self financing.
    Sorry can't be much help, but just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in this.
    Best wishes,
    Amy
     
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    268
    Bucks
    Limits

    Unless the budget changed anything, I believe the current limit is £20,500 - any savings above that will affect your father in terms of charges for any help provided.
     
  5. Hilary

    Hilary Registered User

    Apr 17, 2006
    18
    Oxfordshire
    1) That's what I am hoping. There is no way we intend adding his name to the title deeds of the bungalow, but we would have to use his cash to make the necessary alterations.

    2) There is a fair amount of distance between where we are and where they live. Added to which I haven't been able to get consent from them in writing to talk to their consultants, so I have no idea what my stepmother's prognosis is - I know that MacMillan's are involved. My father has been diagnosed - about 18 months ago, but he isn't too bad. The first time he saw his consultant she asked him to construct a sentence and write it down. So he did it in Latin. The second time she saw him, he wrote in French. The third time she saw him she was ready for him; "in English, this time, please!" He's only given up driving within the last couple of months. My immediate problem is finding out what's available to us under the Oxfordshire Area Health Authority, which is cash-strapped and not likely to offer a lot of help willingly, I think.

    3)There's absolutely no offence taken, Dave; I'm in need of help and the best way to get it is to be straight about my motives and the circumstances we are already in and what might happen. No, I'm not sure I want to take him to live with us, but I'm equally sure that I don't want him to go into a care home. I enquired about sheltered accommodation, but I mentioned that he needs eye drops nightly - I didn't even get to mentioning AD before the woman on the other end of the phone said if he needed any routine medical care at all he would need to go into (far more expensive!) residential nursing care. On a day to day basis he copes very well - he dresses himself and he's fit enough to make breakfast and the odd microwaved meal to take to his wife upstairs. The big snag is that it's not his home; she bought and paid for it before they married; it forms about a third of her estate and will need to be sold to provide care for her. So future events do seem to me to be set in stone; it's knowing where the chisels are to shape it, given that he wants to come and live with me.

    Thanks very much for the advice about the helpline - I'll contact them ASAP. Thanks also to you, Amy.

    Hilary
     
  6. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    I don't know if the budget changed anything or not Dave, but you are right insofar as if someone has £20500 or more they are fully self funding for residential care. However, if their capital drops below this amount they are still partially funding on a sliding scale until their assets drop to around £12500 when they become Local Authority funded. At this point their pension and any other benefits would go towards the care fees but they are left with approximately £18.80 personal allowance. Also if they are in a home that charges more than the Local Authority is willing to pay then the relatives are expected to pay top up fees which can be £50 or more.
     
  7. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    As someone has mentioned, if you use your father's cash then it could come under Capital Gains Tax if he dies within 7 years. Also if he needs to ultimately go into residential care then it could be seen as 'Deprivation of Assets'. However, I would think that the fact that the cash was used to make a home for him would make the latter unlikely, but obviously you would need to check this out very carefully.

    I would have thought the fact that he needs eye drops would not mean he could not go into sheltered accommodation. Surely this is something a District Nurse could do for him?

    Also, I think if someone moves out of their own district into another for residential care then the initial funding comes from the district they have moved from. Again you would need to check this out.
     
  8. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I've moved this thread

    Hi everyone,
    I have moved this thread to the more general area where it will probably get more responses.
     
  9. Zadok

    Zadok Registered User

    Mar 15, 2006
    68
    Kent
    self funding?

    Does the patients property count as part of that £20500?

    On another topic : can anyone tell me how to explain to her and cope with mums forthcoming cataract operation?
    Many thanks ,Zadok
     
  10. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    That depends. If the patient (although people in nursing/care homes are called residents) was the only resident of the property, then yes that property would count towards that limit. If they have a spouse or partner living there, then no it doesn't. It gets more complex if anyone else is living there but this is the short answer!

    Also, the sale of the property cannot be enforced. If the resident has insufficient other assets to pay for care or nursing home care then the usual procedure is for a charge to be placed on the property and the local authority funds the home pending the sale of that property.

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    1,170
    Australia
    Hilary, my reply may seem hard hearted, so please keep this in mind.
    I suggest you make a decision NOT to have your father live with you and make this very CLEAR to both him and his wife, starting immediately.

    Yes, this is a VERY difficult decision and will cause distress and resentment for all concerned, but it is still your life. While ever you are uncertain about how to proceed, they will continue to plan for their needs, with (apparently) little regard for your's.

    You can be gentle, kind and caring about it (no need to make a hard task worse) by saying that you want what is best for everyone concerned and regretfully you don't believe the 'living with you' option will provide this, etc. etc.

    Once your father (and his wife) have taken this on board and got over their natural disappointment and anger, it will be easier for you all. You can do everything possible to help make alternate arrangements for your father and to ensure these are as positive and supportive as possible.

    I believe that your father and his wife will accept your decision (maybe grudgingly to begin with) and will ultimately realise that you have EVERYBODY's best interests in mind. Failing this, all I can say is that you are not required (IMO) to give up your own life for anyone, even a beloved parent.

    My parents (both) were disappointed that none of their 4 children could take them in but are now happily settled in an excellent hostel for people with AD. I have their power of attorney and deal with all the issues they find so hard now (bills, medical appointments, etc. etc.) . I visit at least twice a week; my husband does all their 'repairs' for them (eg. they can't work out why the TV doesn't work if they pull out the aerial cord) and we do all their personal shopping for them.

    My parents are now full of praise for their hostel and say things like "it was the best decision". They also say they couldn't manage without their family.

    My siblings visit regularly (usually once a week each) and we all make a big occasion of all milestones (most recently their 55th wedding anniversary). We take them out whenever they feel up to it (less and less often now) and ensure we provide 'treats' to keep them assured of our continuing care for them.

    I guess I'm making the situation sound very rosy - it isn't always. They both resent their loss of independence and are fearful about the future. They have sad times - and so do we. It can never be "as it was" again.

    But the reality is that if they came to live with any of their four children we could not have provided the level of care they need 24/7 and we probably would have ended up resentful and less caring. As it is, not caring for them every day all day allows us the luxury of providing them with plenty of pampering and cosseting which enhances their lives (we believe).

    This solution is certainly not for everyone and I'm the first to acknowledge that we have been very lucky in the facility in which they live. But please don't discount ths option without a thought. It works for us and it (might) work for you!
    Nell
     
  12. Hilary

    Hilary Registered User

    Apr 17, 2006
    18
    Oxfordshire
    Thanks Neil.

    I've been in touch with the Tax Office today and then with the lot who deal with Inheritance Tax - all the likely problems will come under that heading in the immediate future if my father dies before needing full residential care. It's like trying to piece together a rather large jigsaw puzzle, and I'm waiting for one of their advisers to ring me back tomorrow. It may fall under 'gift with reservation of benefit', and we may escape it altogether if the whole of his estate doesn't amount to £275K - the current IHT threshold.

    I do have very strong reservations about taking him in - not least because of what may happen after he dies, but I have no siblings with whom I can band together and say 'this is not the best idea'. So I am in the process of gathering together as much information as I can in order to tell them exactly why it may not be the best solution - if that's the way forward.

    I've always had a good relationship with my father, and the fact that his wife is dying and is likely to die before him is distressing enough for him. I feel that to add to that distress by putting him in a home will make his condition worse, when at least some of the distress can be alleviated by being with me. I am in no way a saint, and if I felt I could get out of it with a clear conscience I probably would, but as things stand I don't think I can. However, the bungalow over the road has just come on the market, so that might be a way forward if I can persuade them both to move. Six months ago that wasn't an option as far as my stepmother was concerned,, but she is now getting frailer and might change her mind.

    Hilary
     
  13. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    6,847
    Hi Hilary,

    This is certainly a tightly knotted ball of issues. It's very difficult to unpick it and look at each strand individually - but that's probably the only way to approach it.

    I have to say honestly that your father and step-mother's view of marriage seems somewhat at odds with the view that I've come to hold regarding responsibility for caring. What I mean is, given that they have been in a relationship for 25 years (if I read your post correctly), it seems strange that your father's wife would rather see her money go to a cousin rather than be used to ensure that her husband has the best possible care for the rest of his life.

    I know most of us hate the thought of personal savings/assets being used to pay for care, but that alone would not be a sufficient reason to leave assets to another relative rather than one's spouse.

    Also, why does your stepmother say that the house will have to be used to pay for her care? If she has cancer, certainly the NHS will meet all of her care costs?

    What do you think they would do if you said that you could not take your father in? What is their Plan B?

    Does your father have a social worker (SW)? If not, it would be a good idea for him to get one as soon as possible. A good social worker can arrange a care assessment and see what sort of in-home help could be arranged for your father. A skilled social worker can also be a very experienced sounding board for complex care options. Also, most of the costs for home helps or home modifications or temporary/long-term care in a care home will come from a Social Services budget and not the NHS - and the SW is the gatekeeper in that process.

    Having them move closer to you might be a good option. Also, if a house is in both names, the government will not count the value if either spouse has to access care provided by Social Services.

    Take care,

    Sandy
     
  14. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    #14 Margarita, Apr 19, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2006

    This bungalow is it in your name & your husband ? How old is your Husband , because

    assuming your step mother dies ,before your father & you take your father in to live you ,say your step mother live another 5 years your be 62 now ounces you trun 60 years old ,you can apply to your local council( privately own home section) for a home improvement grant for your bungalow. In London the limit they give you is 30k, and as long as you do not sell your home with in 3 years you do not have to pay back the money


    My parents had this done for them, when they owned there own home.


    Mean while like sandy said get a social worker to get care workers to care for them in there own home. Or move them near to you.
     
  15. Hilary

    Hilary Registered User

    Apr 17, 2006
    18
    Oxfordshire
    Hi,

    Firstly to Zadok - yes, the property forms part of their assets, so the monetary value of that is included in any calculations for care, as far as I can gather.

    Sandy, I haven't even thought about what would happen if I said no to my father moving in. I don't think there is a Plan B in anyone's mind at the moment. I'm gathering a dossier of information together in order to make them see there ought to be Plans B, C, D and E.

    I completely concur with your view about my parent's marraige; I have to say that my step-mother looked after her own mother until she died, so whether this has given her a jaundiced outlook on matters of caring I don't know. But I am disappointed with her attitude towards care for my father, and it does seem unfair that her cousin - who hasn't been to see her for years - is going to be the major beneficiary on the back of some holidays spent together some years ago. It might help to realise at this point that I sometimes have a gift for understatement.... ;)

    Margarita; unfortunately I am only 53 this year (going on 98 some days just recently), and I am a couple of years older than my husband (my 50 year old toy boy who will be pushing me around in a wheelchair with his turbo-charged zimmer frame). By the time I turn 60 these problems will have been resolved in one way or another, please God, so it will be too late to think about grants and suchlike for them; we will be into grant applications for ourselves. Thank you for including the site references, though. We live in the Cherwell Valley area, and I am presently investingating their 'Staying Put' programme. Yet another body I am waiting to hear from.

    As far as I am aware, my father does have a social worker. But to a certain extent I feel I am being kept out of the loop as I have no idea who she is, what she is doing or how to contact her: from what I can gather, because they are both fiercely independent people, it's not a lot at present. But I'm not impressed with the district nurse set-up; on the day my stepmother went into hospital when she wasn't expecting to, it took her over six hours to arrange for someone to oversee his medication for the next couple of days; in the end the nurse practically had to arrange it from her hospital bedside.

    I have established that my step-mother's Mac nurse is called Judith, but whether I should get any answers from her is again another thing!

    Hilary
     
  16. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    Sorry I was meaning grants for YOU, when your stepmother dies & you moved your father in to live with you
     

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