As a nation we are now going through a major transition in our demographics. This is likely to have huge implications on the ability of the nation to provide the much needed long term care required for the ever increasing numbers of our older population.
The Office of National Statistics estimates that in 2010 there were 2.6 million people in the UK aged 80 and over and they expect that by 2031 the over 65ís will total the 16 million mark. This will certainly put a strain on the long term care measures required to support this demographically challenged age group.
These figures illustrate the problems that lie ahead for providing care for the elderly. In the past long term care tended to be provided in the form of informal care from the family, but with society not changing and there are more and more single households this is likely to place an increased burden on the state and individuals in paying for care.
Although many of the elderly people in long term care homes have lost their mental capacity others suffer from the physical effects of aging which leave them needing more assistance or could lead them to needing round the clock care. Some of the conditions that can affect the elderly include; failing sight and hearing, lack of mobility and joint flexibility, arthritis and cancers. Whilst some of these conditions can be treated they are far more likely to deteriorate over time. Care for the elderly is a timebomb and needs addressing before the situation becomes untenable
When health starts to fail and it becomes more difficult for the elderly person to manage, the first step would be to have the Local Authority give them a Care Assessment and this will establish the actual care that is required on an individual basis and they will provide a long term care plan for the changes that are required.
The next step in the process is to establish how the recommended care plan is going paid for. A means test will be carried out but in its simplest form if you have asset assessed below £14,250 your long term care will be paid for by your Local Authority. For those who have assets above £14,240 but below £23,250 they will get some assistance from the Local Authority and for those with assets above the upper mean test limit of £23,250 there will be no help at all.
If your assessment shows that your primary need for care is health related and that you need constant nursing your care may be fully funded healthcare paid for by the NHS. Many long term care issues are currently under review in the wake of the Dilnot Report. Governments needs to configure and put measures in force that will address the effects of an ageing population.
Should any of these topics be of relevance and you wish to discuss any long term care issues you have, please call out dedicated SOLLA Accredited Long Term Care Adviser - Jennie Gray on Freephone 0800 678 5139.