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Mark

Age at interview: 58
Brief Outline:

After Mark’s mother died, his father came to live near him in a supported living flat. Following a fall and a spell in hospital, Mark’s father was not able to return home and the family found a private care home they liked.

Background:

Mark, aged 58, is a professional musician. Mark and his brother and sister share decisions about their father’s care. Mark’s father made good financial provision for his retirement and his children hold Lasting Powers of Attorney for finance and health. Interviewed online due to 2020 Covid 19 restrictions.

More about me...

Before needing care, Mark’s father had a happy retirement living in Europe. When his wife died he moved back to England to be near his family and settled on a supported living apartment just ten minutes’ walk from Mark. He bought the apartment and enjoyed the activities and companionship offered there. They also found that the warden was attentive and helpful. The family noticed their father was becoming more forgetful and this prompted them to arrange Lasting Powers of Attorney for finance and health and welfare.

Unfortunately, Mark’s father fell and broke his hip. After a short spell in hospital he was moved to a rehabilitation unit where he received physio. When he was discharged from hospital the family were told that his sheltered accommodation would no longer be suitable and he would need more care. Mark’s father spent three months in the rehabilitation unit which allowed the family time to sell the house and look for a suitable care home. Mark and his brother and sister found a private care home that they liked, it was expensive but they knew that their father had planned well for his retirement and could afford it.

Mark’s father had lived in the residential home for two years when Mark began to worry what would happen if the money ran out and he could no longer pay. At this point Mark’s father was aged 90 but, aside from his declining dementia, was very healthy. The care home recommended a financial arrangement called an immediate needs annuity. The family decided to look into it. Mark had a friend who knew about later life care plans and helped him find the right plan for his father. They paid a lump sum for the immediate needs annuity. Mark’s father had pensions and Attendance Allowance which covered about half of the fees so they arranged for the annuity to pay the rest. This meant the family could be confident that the money would not run out. They had worried that if he could no longer pay the home fees he would have to move to a different home which the family did not want because their father was happy there.

Interviewed online due to 2020 Covid 19 restrictions

 

Mark’s father enjoyed the companionship of living in sheltered accommodation.

Mark’s father enjoyed the companionship of living in sheltered accommodation.

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When he was in the flat near where I live, which is, it was a sheltered flat; so he had to buy his flat there and they have a warden who just checks that everyone’s all right, and there is a when he moved in there was a chef and they had a dining room, so, you know, they had film clubs and it, from what I could see it was a sort of, a place where retired professional people sort of went; there, there seemed to be quite a few retired teachers and doctors and, you know, people like that so that was where he was.

So then I got him to go and have a look round, and once he’d looked round and could see there were lots of people like him and that there was, you know, he didn’t have to worry about where his food came from and, he really liked it, and that, so that’s when he moved in.

 

Mark’s father had carers visiting at his apartment but decided it was time to move to residential care.

Mark’s father had carers visiting at his apartment but decided it was time to move to residential care.

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And I would say in the last year the warden used to say to me that my dad’s dementia was getting really quite bad and that we ought to be thinking about what was his next, what was his next stage, because it; we had carers going in to see him three times a week sort of in the last six months that he was there because he, a couple of times I, I went to see, I mean he, I used to see him every day, he lived, when he was there he lived about ten minutes’ walk from where I live so I’d go and see him every day, and a couple of times, you know, I’d find him on the floor and he wasn’t sure what had happened. But he hadn’t, he hadn’t really badly injured himself and but we were aware that we were, we would have to think about what was going to happen next, and when he fell and broke his hip that kind of forced our hand that we had to do it right now.

 

Mark explains how he found out about immediate needs annuities.

Mark explains how he found out about immediate needs annuities.

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Yeah, we thought, you know, what if he lives to be a hundred, you know, we will have to, we don’t want to move him. So in fact the, his care home have been extremely helpful in, from the moment he moved in up until; well they’re always helpful actually. But they, when he moved in they explained all the various allowances that he was eligible for and so we did all of that, and they were quite they were very helpful in sort of talking us through the pros and cons from their point of view of a what’s it called? It is called a care, a lifetime care plan; it’s an, I think it’s an annuity is it?

 

Mark explains what a care annuity is.

Mark explains what a care annuity is.

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So we took the decision, me and my two siblings, that we would look into getting an annuity for my dad, and so we, we were very lucky, we have a friend, and this is her area of expertise, and she put us onto a local pensions advisor. And so luckily when my, before my dad’s dementia had really kicked in we realised that it was important to get a Power of Attorney in place, both financial and health, because we were going to have some serious decisions to make that he wouldn’t be able to, you know, sensibly make. So luckily we got that all in place; it was quite a long process... but we did it; and so actually to set up the immediate lifetime care plan, or annuity, it was really essential that we had the Power of Attorney so that was one hurdle that we’d already crossed, and when we sat down with the financial advisor; there are only two companies that offer this annuity, who were Just and Aviva. I have a feeling that just may not do it anymore, although I’m not sure about that. So it took quite a long time to fill in all the information for him, we had to. I, it took several weeks of to-ing and fro-ing, and then we got to; so how it worked was my dad would have to pay a large lump sum which would then cover a portion of his care home fees, because he has; so we worked out that half of his monthly care home fee is covered by his pension, the various pensions that he set up in his lifetime, so he needed to cover the other half.

 

Mark says that buying the annuity meant they knew dad could stay in the home where he was happy.

Mark says that buying the annuity meant they knew dad could stay in the home where he was happy.

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Well what we, what we thought was that this money was my dad, it’s my dad’s money obviously, and the only, he has no, he has nothing to spend it on other than his care, so we were totally happy for all of his money to be spent on his care, which would be better for him in that it would mean that the annuity would need to fund less of his total care package. But we had quite we had quite a specific, we, yeah, it was a very specific amount we wanted to cover, so we had a, we had that goal in mind when we set it up; then there wasn’t a lot of, well you could do this or you could do that, we knew exactly what we wanted. Because I think our, as I said before, our biggest fear was that we wouldn’t be able to afford to keep him at the care home if his money ran out. The care home were quite helpful explaining that that might not necessarily happen, that the mechanism might be that they would have to go to the local council to try and get them to help fund it, and this is often what happens, but it can be quite a long process and it can be quite what was the word they used? You know, it can get a bit heated; and actually we didn’t, we just didn’t fancy that, we didn’t want to get into a situation where we were sort of having to haggle over dad’s you know, staying in his care home, basically, so yeah.

 

Mark felt lucky that he and his siblings agreed about paying for their dad’s care.

Mark felt lucky that he and his siblings agreed about paying for their dad’s care.

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And so did you all discuss the plans and did you all feel the same about the way to go forward with this annuity or, because you all have Power of Attorney, I think.

We do, yes. That’s a very good question, because of course, I mean, you know, I know lots of instances where families don’t agree and don’t get on you know, around things like this particularly where money is concerned, because basically what we had to agree on was that effectively my dad was going to leave us no money and that all of his money was going to be used up in his care and luckily we, I’m close to my brother and sister and we all completely agreed and we all went to the solicitors and we all discussed that, you know, our main objective here was solely dad’s care. So we were lucky that we all agreed, because if one of us had completely different ideas I don’t know what, I don’t know what we would have done; presumably the whole process would have been a lot less smooth. But yes, in that we totally agree.

 

Mark was able to cap the telephone bill for his father and block expensive calls.

Mark was able to cap the telephone bill for his father and block expensive calls.

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I was really worried that he would give people his credit card details. so we, basically we told his provider that if they didn’t put a ban on 0800 numbers being used from his number we would just close his account and so they did do that, but I think we ran up, or he ran up three months of really hefty phone bills. So we were really worried that he would be taken advantage of like that, and not only his health but also and actually that’s one of the really good things about him being in the care home is that because he doesn’t have any credit cards, he doesn’t need them, all his costs are included in the in the amount that we pay, and so the three, my siblings and I all have care of his bank account there’s no, you know, nothing can be, he can’t be defrauded, he can’t do something silly so that’s peace of mind as well.

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