Care Advice For Elders
The What, Where, How and Why
of Later Life Care Planning.
In 2007, having cared for my husband on my own for a number of years, I came to the very hard decision that I couldn’t cope any longer. My husband’s behaviour had gradually become more unpredictable and challenging. In 2001, I had to retire from work as his care needs required 24 hours a day, 7 days week supervision. In 2006, he could no longer walk unaided and, following consultation with a geriatrician and various scans, he was diagnosed with vascular dementia and an enlarged aorta that required surgery. Both his mental and physical conditions had become so bad that I realised I could not provide the level of care that he needed.
As his full time carer, my own health was suffering. His demanding and unreasonable behaviour and the constant shouting and abuse was becoming intolerable. My husband had been a very capable man and had managed all our money affairs himself. Not only was I now having to cope with being his full time carer catering for all his complex care needs, I was also having to manage our household and financial affairs on my own.
I just knew that I could not go on any longer. Social services and the mental health team at the hospital didn’t really offer much help or support. My daughter and son live some distance away and both being in the medical profession, lead very busy and stressful lives. Although they were very supportive, I got the feeling that they thought I should be able to continue to manage. I was physically and emotionally drained and felt very guilty and ashamed that I had come to the end of the road.
I was also very frightened and alone as I knew I couldn’t carry on but didn’t know what to do. Out of desperation, I searched around for a local care home that would provide a period of respite care for my husband. I knew we could afford this over the short term but my husband had until recently, run our financial affairs so I didn’t know how I was going to manage over the longer term. Respite would give me chance to regain enough strength and time to think about what to do and how to do it.
I chose a local care home and it was during my emotional discussions with the Manager, that she made me aware of Tim Field. I didn’t know, that the services he offered existed. From that moment I met Tim in May 2007, I felt as if a terrific weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Not only had I found someone who understood my current circumstances but they were also able to offer guidance, support and practical advise on social welfare, legal and financial matters that had worried me for years.
Besides all the other cocktail of emotions, the fear that haunted me the most was being able to afford my husbands care fees without having to sell our house. Tim introduced me to a trusted colleague of his who he said was a specialist later life financial adviser and planner. They both made me aware of another matter, which I just hadn’t even considered. One day sometime in the future, I may need care for myself and it would be prudent to preserve funds for this scenario just in case.
Simon devised a care fees planning program which, not only paid for my husbands care cost but also enabled me to continue to live in the family home. Although I still had very difficult times when I visited my husband as his challenging behaviour was becoming worse, at least for the first time in years, I had peace of mind and felt much more secure; feelings I had not experienced for years. Having regained my confidence and composure I was able to turn my attention to our financial affairs and concentrate on putting my life back in order. Tim and Simon carried out a review of our income and expenditure budget, and our savings and investments. They explained very clearly to me and my children exactly what we had and what options were available in order for both my husband and me to retain our dignity, comfort, independence and security. They introduced us to a solicitor who sorted out legal matters and encouraged me to be able to manage our affairs giving me guidance and support all the way through.
My husband never came back home and died in the care home in 2012. Keeping the family home no longer seemed important. It was hard work to keep it going and it needed lots of work and lots of TLC. For obvious reasons we had neglected things over the last few years and everything was looking tired; including me! I discussed this with my children and after consulting Tim and Simon I decide to sell and move into a lovely new home. Tim referred to this move as ‘upgrading’ rather than ‘downsizing’. It certainly made me feel ‘uplifted’. Simon devised a financial plan and calculated an income/expenditure budget for me that would not jeopardise my own future security.
I replaced lots of things around the house, bought new furniture and had the garden designed and landscaped for low maintenance. I was also able to buy a new car. All these things I did whilst working closely within Simon’s suggested budget and with Tim’s help and support. I felt reenergised and set about reorganising my life. I tackled the practical side of things with renewed confidence and rediscovered my old enthusiasm for running and managing my life.
Housework in my new home is manageable compared to our previous house and Simon’s budget allows me to pay for help twice a month for the heavier tasks. My new car is easier to maintain and less costly to run. More importantly, my new life has made me feel invigorated and helped me adjust to widowhood and living on my own. I have been able to return to the voluntary work I was doing for charities before my husband’s illness. I am a volunteer for both Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Since we met in 2007, Simon has always looked after my financial affairs and has provided me with expert financial advice giving me security and peace of mind. Tim, on the other hand, has given me guidance and support for both my emotional and practical needs. He has always been there for me through my journey and still is today."
Mrs D, Warwickshire
Update as of July 2017
"It is now over 10 years that I have been a client and have, during that time, been more than satisfied by the service I have received.
The annual retainer that I pay is extremely good value for money as it has given to me piece of mind and confidence knowing that I can rely on Tim and Simon working together to give to me guidance and support.
As you are reading this, you will possibly be in a similar position to how I found myself all those years ago. Moreover, whilst my family is loving, caring and very supportive, the skill sets that Tim and Simon provided me then and still do now has made a vast difference to my own financial and wellbeing. Be assured, that Tim and Simon are the very best of people to have on your side."
Mrs D, Warwickshire
Lifestyle Future has been supporting my family with its financial affairs for more than 20 years.
They were initially recommended to my parents by the Solicitor who was, at the time assisting with the legalities of my fathers Will due to his Dementia.
Lifestyle Future advised and supported sensitively through the process of setting up Powers of Attorney as well as reviewing their finances.
So impressed were we by the level of service offered to my parents, myself, my husband and my aunt decided to also become clients.
My aunt, who had become widowed and had to move into Sheltered Accommodation, received financial advice and support in setting up her Power of Attorney as well as a Family Trust to ensure her financial future would be secure.
Sadly my parents and my aunt passed away. Lifestyle Future supported us at a time when we most needed it with all the post death legalities, providing the necessary letters for the various organisations requesting information.
More recently Lifestyle Future played a vital role in assisting me to safeguard a vulnerable elderly cousin of mine who was at risk of financial abuse from a “friend”.
Lifestyle Future were able to advise and guide my cousin on all his financial matters from paying for and guaranteeing his Care Home fees to recommending a specialists solicitor who took his instructions to re-write his Will and draw up Powers of Attorney. They then addressed the issue of Inheritance Tax Planning. All of this support ensured that his legal and financial wishes were secured in his best interest leaving him satisfied that finances were at last well organised and safe.
My husband and I have also valued the financial support and advice given by Lifestyle over the years. The annual reviews have always been the opportunity to review our investments, private pensions and savings. This has enabled us to plan for our retirements at a time suitable for us. Having both taken early retirement we are now able to enjoy the freedom and opportunities our well planned finances allow.
Lifestyle Future’s advice and support over the years has been invaluable. On a personal level they have been the support I needed most after family bereavements. They have been at the end of the phone, exchanging email and we have had numerous home visits; nothing has ever been too much trouble.
With a new granddaughter joining the family we will need further financial advice to plan for her future.
Mrs J M, Sutton Coldfield