We see hundreds of people every year looking to help their elderly parents downsize to an annexe in their garden. The number one reason we see driving the decision to switch to annexe living with family members nearby is loneliness. Secondary to that is of course anticipating that elderly care may be required at some time in the future. Once that conversation within a family develops, a lot of research goes into the options for catering for both.
Building an annexe in your back garden is a choice for a growing number of people in the UK right now having weighed up the cost of some of the alternatives for caring for elderly parents in the UK over 65 today and in years to come.
With all the new homes being built in the UK aimed primarily at young families and the predicted number of elderly in 24-hour care set to double by 2035, are we ignoring the elephant in the room when it comes to preparing for the ticking time-bomb of catering for an ageing population properly?
Our European neighbours are already experiencing similar issues to the ones we are facing in the UK with regards to elderly care for the over 65’s.
“According to recent figures from information centre Vektis, half of the money reserved for healthcare in the Netherlands under the Healthcare Insurance Act (Zvw) and Long-term Care Act (Wlz) is used to care for the elderly. Last year, 28 billion euros was spent on care for those aged over 65.
That figure equates to around a third of the entire budget spend. And within the 28 billion euro spend, 11 billion was spent on long-term care.
According to the research, the vast majority of people over 85 in the Netherlands are taking five or more medicines and they require and average of nine hours per week of general district nursing care.
Of those aged between 74 and 85 more than a fifth suffer from diabetes and 14 percent have dementia.
To read the full article referenced about Over 65 Dutch Healthcare Spend click here
As we exit the EU in 2019 all future health care will be primarily fall on the UK tax payers and it’s an ever growing cost is set to escalate over the next decade and more.
A report from charity Independent Age states that chronic under-funding of social care in England means that older people are being “let down” – and it’s proposed an alternative solution instead.
There are growing warnings that future elderly care (when it comes to accessibility to social care) may well become based on your ability to pay.
Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, said: “Many older people are being let down by a social care system in crisis that is failing to meet their needs.”
Independent Age are asking for free personal care to become available to all elderly people in need of everyday activities, such as getting in and out of bed, getting dressed, preparing meals and shopping.
(These everyday essentials are typically the most common help elderly parents receive from their family when they choose annexe living).
The report goes on to say that by covering these essential needs, it relieves some of the hospital care and supports the joining-up of healthcare and social care support that would allow many more elderly people to retain their independence and live at home or close to a loved one.
To read the full article referenced above click here Elderly Care Simply Paying More Tax)
“The number of people aged 85 and over needing 24-hour care is set to double, says a new study, as an expert warns the care system is “at breaking point”.”
The study, published in the Lancet Public Health journal, analysed the projected health needs of the elderly in England between 2015 and 2035.
The government says adult social care reforms will be set out in the autumn.
The statistics as always are designed to make you sit up and take notice, but there are not many people today who do not have a member of their family who has either suffered from or who is suffering with either diabetes, cancer or dementia.
We have a bit of a ticking time-bomb at the moment with regards to helping care for the elderly in the UK going forwards.
And it may well be a burden that falls on tax payers.
The underlying trend is that we are indeed heading for a crisis unless we find alternative ways to prepare for the future of an increasing spiral of costs relating to elderly care.
Nick Forbes, senior vice-chair of the Local Government Association, warned that more investment was needed to avoid a crisis.
“There is an urgent need to plug the immediate funding gap and find a long-term solution to how we pay for adult social care.”
New plans are due out this Autumn in the UK looking to address the situation and make proposals on how the predicted crisis can be averted.
Within the recent BBC News published article you’ll find Rachel Goble’s story of how caring for her 86-year-old mother with has put a strain on her and her own health as she struggles to cope with care issues and costs even though she only lives 13 miles away from her mother.
The family pays over £3,000 a month for private care and Rachel explains that she still has to provide a lot of care for her mother herself.
She says the ”NHS Care is for three half hour slots, leaving no time to bathe her or prepare meals”
Her mother did not qualify for some things until she was over 85 and she does not get taken to hospital or GP appointments which would be really helpful.
To read Rachel’s full story within the BBC News article click here Rachel’s Story
We visited a customer recently in the outer London area looking to build an annexe in the garden for her mother (who was in her 70’s and just beginning to show early signs of dementia.)
She told us that the family had already seen her Grandmother’s house and all her belongings sold to pay for her long-term care and she just wasn’t prepared to see her mother go through the same thing.
It’s a dilemma that a lot of families go through and it is very difficult to come up with the right answer, or the right reason to do something, especially when you have several family members deciding on the best thing to do for everyone concerned.
One of the biggest decisions families face when it comes to elderly care for their loved ones is “Do they need to sell the family home to pay for care?”
You can find out the Government guidelines by clicking here Advice On Means Testing For Elderly Care In The UK
It is worth noting that at the time of writing this that according to the AGE UK article referenced above “Your home will not be included in the means test if you’re arranging care and support at home and may not be included if you live with a partner, child, or a relative who is disabled or over the age of 60.”
It goes on to say,
“If the local council is arranging your care home, they’ll do a means test to decide how much you should pay towards it, and they may take into account the value of your home. A means test is a financial assessment where the local council calculates how much you may need to pay towards the cost of your care.
The means test will look at your capital and income, such as your savings, property, investments, pensions and any benefits you’re eligible for (even if you’re not claiming them). Certain types of benefits, such as the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, may not be counted.
If your capital and income is above £23,250 you’re likely to have to pay your care fees. If your capital and income is under £23,250 you might get some help from the local authority, but you may still need to pay some fees.”
As you can imagine, this affects a large number of the population weighing up the costs of long term elderly care and deciding the best way to go about it as a family.
Every individual annexe consultation we carry out has it’s own individual set of circumstances.
Whether it’s for elderly care, downsizing, young independent living or a young person’s first home, we believe we are offering a solution to a problem now that helps a growing number of people find an affordable solution to some often complex family situations.
On our new iHUS Community page you can hear directly from some of our customers who have already faced situations just like the ones we are highlighting here and more.
They have done the research and reached the conclusion that an annexe provided the best solution for them and worked out to be excellent value for money.
Caring for your elderly parents is not for everyone (we understand that, and it’s very much down to the circumstances of each individual family and their own particular situation) but it is as our iHUS community reveals an option worth deep consideration.