At some point in time, most of us will face a situation where a family member or friend requires some assistance to retain their quality of life. It is in these instances that we face a sometimes troubling decision; quit your job to care for them full time, encourage them to take residence in a home or apply for home care support. In some cases, their care needs or personal preferences may make this decision much simpler, however for those who's support needs are lesser it can be a difficult decision to make.
One aspect which exacerbates the situation is that there seems to be no centralised or publicised source of information relating to what this actually means for you and your family, so when the time does come, there is very little information available to you to make that decision.
What are my options?
Should you decide that the most suitable course of action for you and your family is to take care of them yourself, there are allowances and benefits that could reduce the financial pressure imposed by the full time care work. You can get some relief from the government through the carers allowance, which amounts to £62.10 a week plus national insurance credits, so your state pension will be unaffected (if you are already of state pension age then you may be able to get a mean tested pension credit, depending on your circumstances). It is also worth condsidering that you may be entitled to certain benefits as a carer, such as working tax credits, income support and universal credits, or even a carers premium.
In addition to these you can apply for a council tax reduction from your local authority, as well as financial help with fuel and health costs, including the adaptation of your home to suit the needs of the individual. There are also organisations such as the carers trust who can offer a variety of discounts to you as a carer, so it could be worthwhile to look into it. In summary, there are many allowances and discounts available from the government, largely due to the fact that caring for relatives will save the government money in domisciliary funding.
Should you opt for care funding from LCC, you may still be entitled to help with the cost depending on an assessment of the individual and their financial situation. If after an initial assessment the individual is eligible for care, then they can receive full or part funding, provided that they fall below the upper threshold of £23,250 in capital and savings. If this is less than £14,250 you will receive fully funded care from the local government, and between the two is a sliding scale of contribution towards the cost of it.
Choosing the domiciliary care option is likely to be the option which affects your life the least, as this would mean the ability to continue your employment elsewhere whilst qualified professionals ensure the safety and quality of life of the individual requiring care. Due to the ever increasing regulations surrounding the care sector, there will be an improvement of the quality of life of the individual regardless of whether you seek help or take care of them yourself. It is primarily the principle carers of the individual who are affected by this decision.