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Care for the Elderly

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've been inspired to make this thread by the benefits thread and a conversation I had at work today.

My boss' mum is going into a care home next month at the cost of £600 a week. As she has capital of over 23.5k (this is because she is a homeowner) she has to pay for the care herself, so my boss is about to sort out selling the house to pay for her care. If she didn't have the money then the Government would pay for her care.

Thoughts please.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    In principle, if you've paid your share of tax, then you should be entitled to the same services whether you have money or not. I'm in favour of a higher tax economy, similar to the likes of Denmark, but it has to be based on the principle that everyone is then treated equally, rather than the people who've contributed most to such services then being the ones that have to pay for the privilege of actually using them. I think it discourages responsible behaviour otherwise.

    And having said all of that, I have absolutely no issue with huge inheritance tax to help pay for such services. That's one way of raising the money without punishing those who have worked hard to earn the money they have. Nor do I share that sense of entitlement that certain people have about getting the money their parents worked hard to earn.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If she's going into a residential care home, what need does she have of her previous home?

    The unfairness here is that we subsidise those that can't afford it - but that's true of all means tested benefit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have mixed views. I remember a few years ago a colleague advised me never to buy a property, she said that you are left to fend for yourself to struggle to pay the mortgage and then once that is paid you then obviously own the property and therefore in cases like this where you might need care, you are expected to pay for it.

    It makes sense to sell the house else it would only stand empty (her husband died years ago) and I also don't like people who only think about the inheritance, but as a homeowner myself the thought of me paying my mortgage for years just to then potentially use that money to pay for care I might need, which I would get anyway but potentially paid for me, bugs me a little as I would much rather leave something behind for my family!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You can get around it if you can predict when you will need care as you can transfer your shit to your family, but I think you need to have done it a certain amount of time before you need care. Is it 7 years?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Big Gay wrote: »
    The unfairness here is that we subsidise those that can't afford it - but that's true of all means tested benefit.

    :yes: However when we are children we get support i.e. free prescriptions, free dentist treatment, cheaper clothing etc (prob loads more stuff I'm not aware of) which I guess is because it is easier on the parents but also children who are unable to fend for themselves shouldn't suffer. With this in mind, doesn't it only seem fair then that the elderly who are also unable to fend themselves and shouldn't suffer, get support from the state?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    katralla wrote: »
    You can get around it if you can predict when you will need care as you can transfer your shit to your family, but I think you need to have done it a certain amount of time before you need care. Is it 7 years?

    You're right, not sure on timeframe but I do remember someone once telling me that their parents had transferred ownership of their property to her so that it couldn't be touched if they need care later on in life. I guess that is OK if they can be trusted!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    [spanner into works]

    Why is this wrong?

    Why should her family benefit from her estate, when she dies, whilst I pick up the cost of residential care?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not really up on the issue but I think some people take the position that there is a scam from the gov with regard to elderly care as, if the care they need is deemed as medical, they are entitled to free care under the nhs, whereas if it's deemed something else -social care I think, then it falls under this scheme where it is means tested. And the, people who are suffering from medical problems get pushed into this scheme when others argu that they should be treated on the nhs free as their need is medical and not social care. Where for instance does altzheimers fall, in my mind it is a medical problem but I think if you are old and get it bad and need help, you are means tested rather than kept in nhs care.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MoK wrote: »
    [spanner into works]

    Why is this wrong?

    Why should her family benefit from her estate, when she dies, whilst I pick up the cost of residential care?

    :yes: Again I agree with this, but still can't help but think that she is being penalised for being no longer able to look after herself. There are many homeowners who die having been fortunate enough not to need to go into a care home, so they die with something to show for their years of hardwork. Then there are those selling their homes to pay for their care, which they wouldn't have needed had they not become dependant on others.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fruit Loop wrote: »
    :yes: Again I agree with this, but still can't help but think that she is being penalised for being no longer able to look after herself.

    Or penalised because her family isn't able to look after/support her in her own home...?
    There are many homeowners who die having been fortunate enough not to need to go into a care home

    Not sure I would describe death as fortunate but I think I guess what you mean!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MoK wrote: »
    Not sure I would describe death as fortunate but I think I guess what you mean!

    lol, what I am trying to say is that not all of us need care when we get older, my grandparents are both 89 and able to look after themselves at home but there are people younger than that who need full-time care.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fruit Loop wrote: »
    I have mixed views. I remember a few years ago a colleague advised me never to buy a property, she said that you are left to fend for yourself to struggle to pay the mortgage and then once that is paid you then obviously own the property and therefore in cases like this where you might need care, you are expected to pay for it.

    It makes sense to sell the house else it would only stand empty (her husband died years ago) and I also don't like people who only think about the inheritance, but as a homeowner myself the thought of me paying my mortgage for years just to then potentially use that money to pay for care I might need, which I would get anyway but potentially paid for me, bugs me a little as I would much rather leave something behind for my family!

    If you would like to leave something for your family, make provisions for that too. Start saving and investing now, so that when the time comes, you can afford to pay for your own care should you need it, and leave an inheritance for your children.

    I'm inclined to agree with MoK here. We should be putting aside money to pay for our own retirement and any care we will need as we get older, and if that means what money we have is spent on that, rather than left to our children, that's as it should be. If you want to leave something for your family, you'll need to make sure you've invested enough to cover both costs. But in the event that doesn't happen, I can't see why your children should inherit while the taxpayer picks up the cost of your care - that seems palpably unjust to me. It's obviously unfortunate if some people save all their lives and then that money is spent paying for their care, while others may save all their lives, die in their sleep and then leave it to their kids. But the reason we make provision for our futures is because we don't know whether we are going to be fortunate or unfortunate.

    If you think of your property as an investment, you should see it as an investment in your old age, not primarily in your children's future.

    As far I'm concerned though, it makes no difference as I think there should be 100% inheritance tax. But I'll leave that digression for another time ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think its alright. Well - i can see both sides to it.
    If you want your big inheritance, then take your old dear in yourself.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't forget, if you're spending your own money on care you have more of a say about the care you receive than if the state is controlling the purse strings.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I can understand people feeling bitter when their parents are forced to sell their homes and use their savings to pay for residential care, but why not? If you have the money, you ought to contribute towards the cost. In an ideal world, an elderly person's children would be able to take them in and provide the care they needed in their own home. But that's an old-fashioned idea and modern life doesn't lend itself to taking care of elderly relatives as well as juggling children and work commitments. Just as, perhaps, it is an old-fashioned idea that parents should be able to leave their home and savings to their children.

    In my position, I'm not necessarily going to advocate higher inheritance tax (there are always ways around it and it would probably hit the moderately well off more than the very rich), but I do believe that those have the means to pay should do so.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's not that much different (imo) than younger disabled people having to pay for their care - even if it's decided that they stay in their own home, but have people coming around to care for them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    jamelia wrote: »
    I'm inclined to agree with MoK here.

    Actually I was playing devil's advocate. I don't hold that view at all. Sorry.

    The argument I put forward is exactly the same on you can put forward for healthcare. If you have the money, why should the state pay?

    Maybe this is where my socialist tendencies get crossed with my capitalist ones?

    I believe that the state should provide residential care, and nursing care for those who choose to use it. Why should someone who has worked hard all their life pay for their own care? It shouldn't matter if they were in a high paying job or a low paid one - they have still worked.

    I look at this situation and see little incentive for me to own a home. Much better that I fritter away my cash, or put it in a trust. If I don't then what can I pass onto my kids so that they can have a better lifestyle than I did?

    So, a confused perspective. I think that state should provide help for those in need, because that is what a state should do. I also believe that it's wrong for the state to expect us to work hard so that we can raise the standards of living for our children, only to take my cash because I was fortunate enough to live longer than my peers...

    Work that one out!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MoK wrote: »
    Actually I was playing devil's advocate. I don't hold that view at all. Sorry.

    Meh, no matter. I'm confident enough in my opinion even if you don't share it!

    I think in an ideal world, the state shouldn't pay for any care for people who could have afforded to pay for it themselves, but for whatever reason now aren't able to or choose not to. Ideally, the state would be there to take care of only those who genuinely are not able to look after themselves. Everyone else, well, we're lucky enough to have been born able bodied and talented enough to find someone to employ us, so we have no good reasons not to save for our own old age or ill health, and pay for it ourselves. So ideally, the state would be able to perfectly judge who is truly unable to look after themselves and pay for their care, while everyone else, who made other choices (ie -an extra holiday a year over a proper pension or health insurance) would be liable to pick up the costs of their own care.

    In practice of course, that's impossible to implement, so we provide care on the basis of need, and that's the best approximation we have of a fair system. But it seems to me that it is, in principle at least, only fair that those who can afford to take care of themselves should do so. If you're lucky enough to be born talented and to acquire wealth, then the taxes you pay aren't going to go toward things that you personally benefit from. You will be a net donor to the NHS rather than a net recipient. But that's as it should be. I am happy to pay my taxes for the NHS not because I think I personally should be able to get whatever I want from the NHS when the time comes, regardless of whether or not I could finance it myself. I'm happy to pay them so that other people, people worse off then myself who would never be in a position to finance their own care, don't get left to die.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MoK wrote: »
    take my cash because I was fortunate enough to live longer than my peers...

    But you don't like the capitalist answer to that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I believe that the state should provide care and nursing for all those who need it. However, I don't see why it is so abhorent to ask those who have money (whether it be in the form of a home ownership or savings) to contribute towards their own care. Isn't the trouble that we are applying our grandparents' thinking to a modern society that bears no relation to the life they knew?

    My reasoning is that children tend, to a certain extent, to adopt the attitudes and prejudices of their parents. Over time, society adapts to modern practices, but some outdated attitudes may remain engrained for generations.

    When my grandparents married (1920s), few people owned their own houses. Rental was the norm and there were few tenancy or employment rights. Most people kept their money under the mattress. Wages were paid in cash and there was no legal minimum. Borrowing was frowned upon as a last resort, and mortgages were only available to the relatively rich. Life, even for the middle classes, was a bit of a struggle.

    At the same time, in my grandparents' day, families tended to stay close by. It was unusual for people to move away to different parts of the country. If children were orphaned or granny needed care, people still had an extended family to rely on. The NHS hadn't been invented and residential care was only provided for the mentally ill. Education was basic for most and a university education was only for the privileged.

    It was natural, in those days, that if you had managed to make a few hundred pounds to buy your own home or had some savings, you would want to pass them on to your children to give them a better life.

    However, skip forward a few generations and look at the situation now. The UK welfare system is the envy of the world. But people live far longer than they did. (Quite apart from general improvements to sanitation, hygiene and medicine, we lost millions of relatively young people in two World Wars and the flu epidemic of 1918-20.) The population of the UK also grew enormously over the latter part of the last century.

    All children are now guaranteed an education up to the age of 16 and a bright child from any background can now expect to benefit from a university degree. Despite current levels of high unemployment, people's employment rights are much better protected. Most employees receive a regular salary paid by bank transfer rather than in cash, enabling them to take out loans and mortgages. More people own their own homes and there are more opportunities to get on the housing ladder. I'm not ignoring those on benefits or denying that there is real poverty out there but, generally, it is not these people we are talking about. Those whose parents have worked hard, who own their own homes and may have a few savings, are most likely well able to make their own way in life, without relying on an inheritance to see them right.

    Expecting to inherit a nice little nest-egg while the State pays for your parents' care is greed. I see no wrong in means-testing care for the elderly and asking those who can afford it to contribute. As Big Gay said, spending your own money on care gives you much more say over what you receive. Elderly people, in my experience, are far too ready to deny themselves purely in order to pass on what ever wealth they may have to their kids. After a lifetime's hard work bringing up a family, why shouldn't they spend their money to ensure a comfortable retirement.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Expecting to inherit a nice little nest-egg while the State pays for your parents' care is greed. I see no wrong in means-testing care for the elderly and asking those who can afford it to contribute.

    Isn't that what the NHS does though. Something like 70% of NHS funding is actually spent on the over 60s. So the state does pay for your care whilst your little nest egg matures...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Big Gay wrote: »
    But you don't like the capitalist answer to that.

    You mean inheritance tax? Or private healthcare?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't get means testing on public services at all (with a few possible exceptions). It just seems like a huge con to say you're not going to raise taxes to me. Taxes already means test people on what they put in, so I don't see the need for this extra layer of bureaucracy when they draw services out. But obviously you'd need to raise taxes a bit to provide everyone with free tuition fees, free prescriptions or free care when they're older, which no politicians will claim they are willing to do.

    And obviously unearned income, like income from inheritance should be the first on the list for a massive price increase, because there is no downside whatsoever. You have to sell the house to pay for the tax bill? So what, you got the house for nothing in the first place, and will still have plenty or free cash left over afterwards. That's far better than having elderly people worried they're going to get kicked out of their house when they're at their most vulnerable. Taxing people's incomes, or punishing them when they work hard to improve their situation, on the other hand, it only going to create this "what's the point?" attitude that we sometimes hear at the moment. But this needs a rethink in the attitude that many have that they are somehow entitled to the fruits of their parents' labour.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MoK wrote: »
    Isn't that what the NHS does though. Something like 70% of NHS funding is actually spent on the over 60s. So the state does pay for your care whilst your little nest egg matures...

    :confused: I thought we were talking about residential care - not the NHS.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You have to sell the house to pay for the tax bill? So what, you got the house for nothing in the first place, and will still have plenty or free cash left over afterwards. That's far better than having elderly people worried they're going to get kicked out of their house when they're at their most vulnerable.

    Either someone is in residential care, or they are cared for at home. Why is it so important for someone to continue to own a house if they are living in a nursing home? What you are actually saying is that the elderly have no business spending their savings or selling their house to pay for their own care. Much better to keep their money in the bank to pass on to their kids when they eventually pop their clogs.
    Taxing people's incomes, or punishing them when they work hard to improve their situation, on the other hand, it only going to create this "what's the point?" attitude that we sometimes hear at the moment.

    The point, surely, is to ensure a comfortable old age. Asking people to "contribute" towards the cost of residential care, is hardly punishing them for hard work, is it? And if people take the "what's the point?" attitude, they will be forced to accept whatever state-provided care is available by the time they retire - a bit of a gamble if you ask me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MoK wrote: »
    You mean inheritance tax? Or private healthcare?

    Termination of on productive units.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Much better to keep their money in the bank to pass on to their kids when they eventually pop their clogs.

    But why should tax payers pick up the tab? If someone is able to pay for their care, then they should do. End of.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    But why should tax payers pick up the tab? If someone is able to pay for their care, then they should do. End of.

    :thumb: My point exactly. I was responding to I'm With Stupid's comment about allowing people to keep their homes (and savings) - presumably in order to pass them, then taxing the inheritance. To me, it seems fairer to have the elderly have the direct benefit of the assets that they have accumulated during their working lives - then pass on whatever might be left (thereby possibly avoiding saddling their heirs with inheritance tax altogether).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    :confused: I thought we were talking about residential care - not the NHS.

    We are. I was talking about the principle in play.

    People object to the state funding residential care on the basis that the rich will have a nice nest egg to pass on and so could afford to pay for the care itself. My argument is that the same principle can apply to any state funded service.
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