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What are your long-term care options?

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According to Age Concern UK, as of 2019 there were almost 12 million people aged over 65 in the UK, with  nearly half of these over 75. And these numbers are expected to keep increasing with one in five people in the UK being aged 65 or over by 2030, and the 85+ age-group predicted to double by 2041.

So, while this means a lengthy life is something lots of us can hopefully look forward to, it also means having to think about long-term care options, as we might need a bit of help doing the things we take for granted in our old age.

Costs can mount up

We all want to live in our own homes for as long as we can, but at some point, you might need to go into a care home or nursing home. This is where things can get seriously expensive. In 2019, the average UK care home cost was £33,852 and £47,320 for a nursing home, so you can see how costs could mount up.

Even if you don’t need to do this, you might need help with basic tasks, like getting out of bed, washing yourself and getting dressed. Some people also struggle with gardening and cleaning as they get older, as well as cooking, and need help with these too. You might need to pay to adapt your home for old age too, (e.g. fit a stairlift) so take these costs into account.

Some government aid is available, but it’s mean-tested and you, or your family, might still have find a serious amount of wedge to make up the difference between what you’re entitled to and the costs of your care.

Long-term care insurance

This could be a good option, as it’ll usually cover a lot of the things mentioned above. Policies are guaranteed for life and can be paid directly to a care provider too, if you’re in a care or nursing home. Some policies can be deferred until you actually need care, although you might need to prove that you’ve got other funds to cover things in the meantime.

What about savings and investments?

Of course, you can use any savings or investments to cover your long-term care costs, although these could run out and you’ll still need to fund things another way.

Property is another option too

If you own your home, selling it (or part of it) could be another way to pay for your long-term care, as this will give you a lump-sum you can use. You could downsize or move into a bungalow and use the equity, for example.

Retirement villages and assisted care properties are becoming more popular too, as a step between living in your own home and going into a care home. Alternatively, equity release could be an option if you don’t need to go into care just yet, but need some extra cash.

‘Equity Release will reduce the value of your estate and can affect your eligibility for means tested benefits’

Some of you might have rental properties too. Again, you could look to sell these or use the rental income to help with your care fees.

Fleur Flaherty

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