Are you a carer? Useful information and advice from a specialist solicitor
You may not think of yourself as a ‘carer’ but if you look after your partner, a relative or friend who is ill, frail or disabled, you are by definition, a carer. Perhaps you help to arrange hospital appointments, food shopping or paying bills. You might be on hand 24/7 or drop in to help on a regular basis. Whatever your situation there may be times when you face difficulties or have concerns about the care you give, and the person you care for.
As we start a new year, specialist solicitor Rebecca Broom shares some useful information and advice to make caring for a friend or relative more manageable, and the future more secure.
If you need to make your home safer and more easily manageable, by installing grab-bars for example, you may be able to get financial support for these items from your local council. It may also be possible to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant which will allow greater modifications to be made to your property to make living there easier. If you have already made changes to your home, such as a downstairs bathroom, your council tax could be reduced. If the person you live with has dementia they will be exempt from paying council tax, so your home will be charged as a ‘single person occupancy’, a 25% reduction in your total bill. I would advise you to check the available options with your local council office.
Long term care
Some people with long-term complex health needs qualify for free social care arranged and funded solely by the NHS. This is known as NHS Continuing Healthcare. The application process is complex and can be lengthy but a successful outcome could make a considerable difference to your life.
If you are looking into care home options, the funding rules can be complex and confusing. A specialist solicitor can help you understand how the rules apply to you, and make sure you are receiving all the funding and assistance you are eligible for. If you have property and savings, we can advise you on how to best preserve your assets to ensure that you achieve the best outcome in the short term, and protect yourself and your family for the future. We can also help if you have already received a funding assessment but are unhappy with the outcome and any decisions that have been made.
Planning for peace of mind
If you haven’t already organised writing a Will or set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, the new year is a good time to have these conversations and consider what might happen in the future if plans are not in place. Knowing that an attorney has been appointed to make decisions if you, or the person you care for are unable to and having an up-to-date Will in place provides reassurance that should the inevitable, or the unexpected happen everyone concerned will be well looked after.
Caring for someone can be physically and emotionally difficult and there are lots of reasons why you might need extra support. The good news is there is help out there and there are lots of support groups which provide an opportunity to meet people in a similar situation. Contact your local Patient Advice & Liaison Service who will be able to give you more information about groups in your area.
At Mowbray Woodwards we have a team of solicitors who specialise in writing Wills, setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney and help people navigate the care system. If you would like any further information or to meet with a solicitor to discuss your situation, please contact our friendly team by calling 01225 485700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org We are here to help.