If you were to do a poll on the population there would likely be a very small proportion that would say they had planned to move into residential or nursing care when they were in their later years. No one really ever anticipates that they will have to move in to a care facility. Perhaps that is because they simply hope that they will never have to make the move. However, over 50% of admissions into care facilities are made directly from hospital following an episode of illness or following a fall or accident. These entrances into care facilities are often completely unexpected and therefore, completely unplanned. There are often no safeguards in place to protect property or assets. There are also no plans on how care will be financed, again because the episode was not planned or expected. The highest proportion of elderly admitted to long term care is due to some form of dementia which prevents the patient from being able to take care of their own needs.

With overall life expectancy increasing, there is likely to be a greater need for room in residential and care homes. Of course, no one wants to see their loved one enter into a residential care facility. However, choosing a good home, or the home with the best services in place, could actually serve to improve the patient’s health. So, there is a great emphasis on choosing the right home for the patient’s needs. There are actually some benefits that can be experienced by moving into a care home. For example, someone living on their own may feel very isolated, especially if their family live some distance away. They may find themselves not seeing anyone for days on end. Moving into a care home can give them the support they need and can serve to increase their social interaction with others. This social interaction can really help to improve the quality of life of the patient.

Secondly, care homes can help to provide some increased oversight. For example, many living with dementia are known to often forget to take their regular medication or they don’t take it at the necessary times. They may even occasionally forget if they have eaten or not. So, by being in a different setting and a setting that provides oversight, these patients may actually experience improvements in their overall health. They are receiving their medication and they are doing so in a controlled environment. This means they are taking them at the right time and in the right amount. This is something that cannot always be guaranteed when a patient is living alone.

So, for the families of someone moving into care if health and life expectancy were to be improved their next concern would be how to ensure that they have the funding to cover the cost of this care for the rest of the life of their loved one. The last thing that you would want would be for the funds to run out and be left with the difficult decision of having to move them from a home that they have settled into well. It is therefore vitally important that you should seek specialist independent financial advice at the start of the process as you will then be in an informed position to make the right decisions regarding care. There are a number of options available to you. For example, your loved one may actually qualify for some level of financial assistance from their Local Authority. There may also be some way that they can capitalize on their assets or capital. For example, they could use an annuity to help fund their care immediately or if they own a home, they can use the value of the home to help pay for their care fees. There are also loans and deferment plans that may be available through their local authority. The possibilities are endless, but one fact remains the same. People are living longer and in turn, fact is that more people need long term care services. Now, this care may come in the form of moving into a residential care home or it may be care that can be received right in the patient’s home. Whatever the case may be, being as proactive as possible in planning for the future is the only real way to ensure that the services that are needed are received. Nobody anticipates needed long term care but the truth is that most people will need some kind of care during some part of their later years. That being said, there is no harm in preparing for when that day comes to pass.