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Bella

Age at interview: 69
Brief Outline:

Bella’s mother self-funded care from age 86

Bella’s mother had always been financially astute and invested for independence in her later years. Beginning with a cleaner, and gradually arranging more care and support at home, her mother decided to try residential care when Bella went on holiday.

Background:

Bella, aged 69, is a retired teacher with an MA in Education. She is a lay reviewer for Alzheimer’s Society research. Bella cared for her mother who was diagnosed with dementia. Bella is divorced and now lives with her partner, she has two adult children.

More about me...

When Bella was about to go on a long-planned holiday, her mother admitted that she did not feel she could cope alone. After caring for her mother increasingly over the years, they decided to try out a care home for a few weeks. On Bella’s return, her mother was settled and decided to make it a permanent arrangement. Bella feels that going into a care home at the right time can be a positive move for people who may begin to feel isolated as they get older.

Bella had Lasting Powers of Attorney for finance and health which her mother had arranged through a solicitor many years before. Bella dealt with the sale of her mother’s house and made decisions about investments. She discussed matters with her brother and sister and Bella feels she was fortunate that they were all in agreement and things went smoothly. Bella’s mother had an interest in the stock market and had used the services of a financial adviser. When Bella wanted to invest the proceeds of her mother’s house, and other capital, she felt confident consulting the financial adviser as they had built up a trusting relationship over the years.

Bella’s mother self-funded her care through return on investments as well as income from pensions. She also received Attendance Allowance which went towards care costs. Bella recommends that people plan, well in advance of needing care, and think about how the costs will be met; she is grateful that her mother was so organised and reduced the stress of money worries for the family.

 

Bella explains how she adapted to being a carer.

Bella explains how she adapted to being a carer.

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Tortuous, yes [laughing] and it creeps up on you because, you know, you're, because it never just happens overnight and you cope, and you adapt, and you understand and you understand their personal quirks and what's important for them, so a lot of the potential issues can be kind of just moved through gracefully. But then, there comes a point in time when you do realise that something has to be done and it's much better if there's plans in place well before you get to that stage.

 

When Bella retired she had planned to go on a cruise so her mother went to stay in a local care home.

When Bella retired she had planned to go on a cruise so her mother went to stay in a local care home.

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I'd just retired, and I'd always promised myself a cruise to Iceland, and so she knew, you know, this, I talked about this for years, she knew all about it, but then I got an invitation to go away and see my sister and she said, "I'm not happy being on my own for the whole month of July," which was when it was going to happen. So she said, "What should I, what should I do?" I said, "Well, why don't you try going into a local home?" - she knew somebody in a local home - "And use it like a hotel. Have some respite, see how you feel. It'll be very useful for the future." So it was never done kind of permanently except when I came back, she didn't want to leave, so [laughing].

It was, if you think about it that was a blessing in disguise because if we hadn't had that, you know, I booked the tickets about 15 months beforehand, I had paid the money, I was going, and she quite understood that. And so, and also the fact that we were able to fit it into a kind of temporary scenario, go in and test it, see what it's like, then in the future… You know, I think that's a very gentle way into it and it gives you a chance to say - I mean, I went to see her, and she was just part of the community, you know, and she loved it. And of course if there is a sense of, certain sense of social isolation, when the person with Alzheimer's or whichever, you know, care scenario they're in, if there is a social isolation, there can be something incredibly positive about, you know, going into some kind of care situation.

 

Bella consulted a financial adviser about investing money to pay for care.

Bella consulted a financial adviser about investing money to pay for care.

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She had a lot of pensions, she'd done a lot of investing, she had ISAs coming out of her ears, and we could make up about 80 per cent of what was needed monthly. So, ah, when we sold the house, I put it into something and took an income out of it, and that covered it for the first two or three years - four years, in fact. We then got to the point where I needed to activate her final lump sum that she had, that we'd been just reinvesting and reinvesting, so the money had grown a little bit, to try and kind of index-link it so to speak, and I'd just sent off to have that turned into income when she died.

 

Bella explains about the extras on top of the cost of a care home.

Bella explains about the extras on top of the cost of a care home.

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I think another thing that people need to be aware of when they're self-funding is that, yes, you will get your board and lodging, but things like hairdressers, chiropodists, dentists, opticians, you will all have to find those. And that is just something you need to factor in. You know, it is going to add to the expense.

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