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Social Care is in Crisis – Are you planning ahead for your care needs?

by Lindsey Nathan on 7 June 2019 14:25pm 1590

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It’s widely acknowledged that the social care system in the UK has reached breaking point with more and more people living longer increasing demand for support services and cuts to local authority budgets leaving a widening funding gap. Add to that the severe shortage of carers and we’re headed into the eye of a perfect storm.

The recent shocking Panorama documentary Crisis in Care showed the stark reality of people struggling to cope and facing having to sell their homes to pay for their care. It reminded me, in part, why I set up Close to Hand and that was to give people greater access to local affordable help as and when they needed it.  

Accept help sooner and save money
This might sound counter-intuitive, but far from it. Planning for your care in advance can give you greater control over your independence and your finances. By accepting help at home earlier than you think you need it, even if it’s just a few hours a week to assist with household tasks, the chances are you can extend your years living independently. In addition, you can expect to push back the point at which you need more hands-on personal care or a move to a residential care home.  

Connecting with a local Home Helper can give you peace of mind and the flexibility of increasing the hours of support gradually over time in line with your requirements as you age. It’s a gentle, non-intrusive way of introducing support and getting help in your own home to live well and manage the tasks of daily living. Not waiting to ask for help until you reach crisis point also prevents even more strain on a care system that is on the edge of collapse.

Thrive, don’t just survive
Day-to-day tasks that many of us take for granted – such as putting a load of washing on, preparing a meal, weeding the garden or collecting a prescription from the chemist – can be challenging for many older people. Having a network of local people on hand can make all the difference to leading a good life, well into old age and delaying the need for live-in care or moving into a care home.

Reduce your care costs over the long run
If you are worrying about the spiralling costs of social care you’re not alone – for many families trying to finance a care package, the sum they need to cover is the great unknown. This makes it incredibly difficult to plan for financially.

According to the Laing & Buisson Care of Older People Market report last year, the average residential home costs £32,344 a year – rising to £44,512 a year if nursing care was needed. Depending on the kind of home you select, where it is in the country, and the level of care you need, and costs can soar to as much as £80,000 a year or more.

By this measure it’s clear to see why staying in your own home for as long as possible is the most cost-effective option. Research carried out for the Daily Telegraph by Supercarers found that those with mild care needs could save up to £17,00 a year by opting for 3 hours care a day at home instead.

Many older people don’t need carers, but they do need an extra pair of hands around the house. This is where Close to Hand Home Helpers come in; they are self-employed people offering assistance with every-day household tasks.

If you have a family member or friend looking after your personal care, Home Helpers can be there to cover periods when you may be on your own. According to a new study, one in six millennials expect their parents to live with them in the future to save on care costs, but they will still need support. The research by wealth manager Charles Stanley also found one in nine young adults plans to move in with their parents to look after them, while one in ten expects to purchase a joint property for them and their parents to live in.

Right now 1.4 million older people in England are left to struggle each day without any support, according to research carried out by AgeUK. We’d like to see that dramatically reduced and already we’ve witnessed the positive impact that Home Helpers are having in their local communities.

I like to think that Close to Hand is acting as a stepping-stone for older people before they need advanced care, allowing them to affordably extend their independence.

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