The health and happiness of our friends and loved ones is of paramount importance to all of us, so choosing elderly care is not a matter to be taken lightly.
Caring for ourselves and our loved ones can become increasingly challenging with age.
Maintaining a high quality of life is the major factor, but identifying how to do this is not always so simple.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR OLD AGE?
Thanks to improved social care and medical advances, people in the UK are living longer.
As a result, the number of people who require extra care in their old age has increased dramatically. There are currently three million people over the age of 80, and this number is expected to increase to almost six million by 2030.
There is also an increasingly worrying number of elderly people living on their own, increasing the demand for specialised individual care.
Ageing, however, should not necessarily be associated with failing health; though many elderly people are living with one or more chronic medical conditions.
There are three key things that need to be looked at when someone approaches old age.
MAKING A WILL
Many people – not just the elderly – fail to make a will, presuming that their goods and chattels will automatically be passed on to their next of kin. However, if you do not make a will, the government will decide what to do with your money.
For further information on this subject click here to go to our article entitled, The Importance of Making a Will.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
It is absolutely essential that you decide who you want to make decisions on your behalf should you become unwell or incapacitated and are unable to make them yourself. You need to set up a lasting power of attorney as soon as possible. There are two types that are primarily used: a health and wealth or a property and financial affairs power of attorney. A solicitor will be able to do this for you.
If you have assets such as property or savings, you may you need to think about how you protect yourself and your beneficiaries against inheritance tax. This should be done early as it may help you to avoid paying care fees or your estate paying excessive amounts of tax upon your demise.
Always seek advice from a qualified and registered Independent Financial Adviser. There will be a fee to pay, but in the long run it could prove to be a good investment. Click here for advice on finding a professional near you.
LOOK OUT FOR THE WARNING SIGNS
When a loved one shows signs of mental or physical decline, or possibly both, it is vital that the elderly person themselves needs to acknowledge that they may be in need of special help.
It is often a difficult issue to bring up, as many older people are reluctant to face the fact that they are not managing as well as they had in the past. They can also often be worried and apprehensive about what the future may hold.
Opening the discussion in a calm and gentle way will help them to make the right decisions. Rather than pointing out your concerns, let them think that they are reaching their own conclusions.
QUESTIONS THAT MAY NEED TO BE ADDRESSED
- How are they managing at home with housework, cooking etc.?
- Can they manage the stairs easily?
- Are they able to fix things around the house or do they need someone to help?
- Are they lonely and depressed?
- Can they hear the door, television or phone?
- Can they get out and about independently?
- Are they having problems with getting washed and dressed?
Change is scary – particularly when it feels like it is happening without control – so be gentle in your approach.
Contact your local authority if you feel unsure how to approach this problem. They have trained counsellors who would be only too pleased to pay a visit and discuss various options in a kind and empathetic manner.