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Health

Prepare for care

 

Mum, would you like a carer to help? This is the question many sons and daughters of elderly relatives may be thinking but not know how to address; an often sensitive subject combined with a care system that can be complex to navigate.

The picture of the stoic individual, possibly living alone or with an elderly partner, becoming increasingly imprisoned in their home as physical or mental issues take hold and reduce mobility. Yet it is precisely this older generation who may have lived through far greater hardships than they think they are enduring at present, possibly making it much more difficult for them to turn to a family member or friend and ask for help.

The issues are easy to understand; there might be worries about security, letting a stranger into the home or more likely, there could be a deep-rooted psychological thought process which links the request for help to an admission that a life may be drawing to a close, or independence is being lost. But, in fact, the precise opposite can often be the case and early intervention and the engagement of outside help can frequently bring significant improvements to the quality of life.

Wayne Carter, head of sales and marketing at National Friendly, an insurance company with 150 years’ experience of looking after families, feels the time is right for the private sector to step up and deliver insurance policies that address the most immediate needs an ageing population might face. “For many people who are living alone or with a frail partner, it is often the basics which fall by the wayside first. There may be cases of individuals who are no longer able to clean their homes properly, who stop eating regularly or whose personal hygiene is impacted if they cannot get in and out of a bath or shower easily. These are life’s basics and are vital to help underpin a healthy and independent lifestyle, but the good news is, they can be easy to put right.”

Issues which impact families include where to find support and how to pay for it, especially if savings are limited. Again, there are many ways of approaching this. Government benefits such as Attendance Allowance are available on a non-meanstested basis and can help financially, but for more information on what financial support might be available, organisations such as Grace Consulting exist. These and other helplines help people identify which state benefits are readily available, how they can secure help through their GP and district nurses and what is available at a generic level via their local social services adult support units. Carter adds, “We recognise the importance of these third party organisations which can make a real difference and so we offer our policyholders discounted access to the Grace Consulting helpline.”

An increasingly large number of people now want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, rather than go into residential care homes. This is understandable and it can also bring benefits such as the confidence which flows from familiarity of surrounding and proximity of friends and relatives.

National Friendly’s research suggests a pattern where care needs in the home start at a modest level. In many cases, the situation can be managed with limited intervention by third party carers over quite long periods before care needs escalate and a more permanent solution is required. Carter explains that, “The first step is usually a realisation by the individual concerned that they do need some sort of help. The individual might only need help getting up in the morning, or with meal preparation and basic mobility. This can normally be accommodated through two or three short visits a day, the result being families can be more relaxed knowing that a loved one is being regularly checked up on and the individual themselves gains in confidence.”

National Friendly’s Assisted Living Insurance policy can help those in good health prepare for future care needs. The policy will help fund the cost of particular care needs, such as professional care services or the purchase and installation of assistive devices, up to the policy cover limits.

However, it is not intended to be a catch-all solution, rather it provides an important first step and can help families start to set up properly planned and funded care plan for their relatives.

For more information on National Friendly and its products visit www.nationalfriendly.co.uk/laterlifecare

 

 

 
 

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