Adult social care reform: your stories
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Adult social care reform: your stories

New Delhi : India | Oct 16, 2012 at 11:05 AM PDT
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There is still no clarity on how a suggested cap on future payments would be funded, with Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, admitting that such a scheme cost individuals as much as £100,000.

Among the proposals are plans to allow those needing care to "pay as you die," by borrowing money to fund their needs which would be repaid from their estate when they pass away.

Ministers are also keen to impose a cap on the amount the elderly and others in need pay for their care, but have yet to determine how this will be funded.

Politicians of all parties agree that the current system is unfair, with a "postcode lottery" of care on offer around the country.

At present, the public and state pays £15 billion a year to fund care, and this figure is expected to rise to £20 billion within five years.

With an ageing population meaning that there will be eight million people over the age of 80 by 2020, adult social care is likely to be one of the major political issues facing the country over the coming decades.

We want to hear about your experiences of adult social care in your area. How have you paid for it? Have you had value for money? Have you been a victim – or beneficiary – of a 'postcode lottery'?

Graeme Boothman emailed us to tell us about his mother and mother-in-law.

He wrote: "My 85yr old widowed mother had to enter a care home for her own safety and comfort in Oct 08. Prior to then she had lived in local authority housing and had about £14,000 in savings, having worked in low paid jobs until she retired at 60 years.

"During the last few years in local authority housing she had received a full state pension, free housing and did not pay council tax.

"Latterly she also received pension credits and attendance allowance. Her pleasures were simple but she had more than enough money for those needs due to the assistance from the state.

"Upon entering the care home she lost all those benefits but the state is paying the care home for all her basic needs and she is allowed to keep approx £20 for additional pleasures and necessities.

"My mother is well cared for by the state and more specifically by the privately owned care home as she approaches 89.

"My 78yr old widowed mother in law, who has dementia had to be placed in a specialist care home in 2009. She had also worked but her husband was a professional who invested wisely for the future and they had their own small bungalow.

"They did not have many savings but had annuities paying out regularly throughout the year giving her approx £13,000 per year income.

"That income, plus the house (approx £175,000) mean she will be totally self funding until death at a cost of approx £430 per week or just over £22,000 per year.

"The house has been sold and her capital will drain away with the fees and monies owed to the local authority.

"The disparity in the two cases for funding could not be more startling and yet they have both been hard working decent and caring individuals who have given much to society."

Gillian Barker wrote: "I am writing about the experiences that we encountered from our local authority London Borough of Waltham Forest and health authority. My mother had been declining in health both physically and mentally for some time. Whilst my sister and I tried our upmost to support her with jobs and teenage children still living at home it wasn't always easy.

"My sister received a phone call from the police at 6am to say mum had been found in the main road distressed and had fallen down and was being taken to the A&E for treatment. We arrived at the hospital and after a long wait the decision to admit mum was taken.

"Eventually we were advised that we should consider moving her to residential care – little did we realise at the time the assessment is financial first and needs last. We were told that they were assessing her for NHS continuing care and after form filling by a nurse on the ward to go to a sitting panel.

"Needless to say despite being registered partially sighted, having dementia and mobility problems it was turned down for funding.

"Then a phone call from social worker she was to get some financial help they omitted to say it was for six weeks only and a list of care homes was left on her locker for us to deal with. We were wrongly told that we could sell mum's one bedroom flat despite her lacking mental capacity and no power of attorney to do so. Forms were sent to us regarding third party top up fees which we were told were to do with short term but actually stand until our mum's death. All the care homes on the list ask the same question self-funding £700.00 to £750.00 per week. Eventually because we had insufficient funds and they needed the bed, social worker said they were referring the case to the adult services in the council. They proposed that mum would be partly funded prior to the sale of her flat and we pay the top up of £253.00 per week. They informed us that we couldn't use her state pension of her attendance allowance paid at the lower rate.

"Mum spent just over two eight months in residential home and passed away in April this year. We were fortunate that we managed to sell her flat and repay all outstanding monies.

"We were constantly worried that mum might outlive the money that her flat realised and that we would have to go through the process of what would happen to her as we couldn't possibly finance the top up fees ourselves especially as the care home fees increased each year.

"My parents worked hard all their lives to pay a mortgage to buy a property and then my mum downsized to a flat rather than live in poverty or expect the state to keep her."

Ann Reid said: "I am absolutely speechless at the announcements in the papers today – and almost – but not quite – lost for words. My Grandmother had dementia – and was in residential care for 10 years – fees paid in full by my Grandfather.

" My late husband had Alzheimers – I cared for him at home until he died – final charges for home carers were £245 p week.

"My Mum is 93 – she has dementia – and has been in care for almost 7 years – first in EMI and for the last 3 years in a nursing home.

The costs so far – around £170,000 – from the sale of her home – and money is now running down fast."

Seth Proctor said: "The mark of a civilised society, surely, is how we treat our elders. And we do so very badly. I have tried for nearly three years to raise collateral to fund my parents’ care to no avail. Every avenue — in my name or theirs — have been rebuffed. And all the while ensuring that whatever I think of cannot be construed of being a deprivation of assets in the eyes of the local authority or of evading the Revenue. All the while, juggling the demands of looking after my own family and household, caring for my parents, holding down a full-time professional career, and learning on the job what it means to have Power of Attorney, trying to get the best health and social care available, understanding the finer points of our taxation system (Potentially Exempt Transfers, CGT, Inheritance Tax), plus, in our case, being a responsible, accredited landlord for my parents’ extremely modest portfolio of three cottages bought for a pittance in the 1970s.

"And, of course, such a portfolio here in the south east, even in straitened times, has a value way behold an unrealistic, phoney capital threshold. This leads to the only avenue available: selling property once the cash runs out, so providing the Exchequer with useful income via VAT on fees plus stamp duty and capital gains tax on the sale."

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Adult social care reform: your stories
Adult social care reform:
farooq0300 is based in Faisalābād, Punjab, Pakistan, and is a Stringer for Allvoices.
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