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Sinclair

Age at interview: 92
Brief Outline:

Sinclair and Audrey self-funded care from age 92

When Sinclair’s wife started to show signs of dementia, the couple began to look at retirement accommodation. After a spell in hospital, Sinclair’s wife was discharged to residential care. They then moved together to a home that could offer dementia care.

Background:

Sinclair, aged 92, is a retired RAF Officer and his wife was a sonographer before having their three children. He and his wife self-fund care in a residential nursing home, run by the British Legion, for ex-servicemen and women. Sinclair is White-British.

More about me...

Following his recovery from a serious illness, Sinclair and his wife decided to move to a smaller house to be nearer to their daughter. Sinclair had been caring for his wife, who was diagnosed with dementia, but she had a fall and was admitted to hospital. When discharged, the health professionals insisted she should go to a care home and a place was hurriedly found that was local to Sinclair and his daughter. After a further spell in hospital it was found that Sinclair’s wife needed more specialist care. Helped by his daughter, a place was found in a residential home that also offered nursing and dementia care. Sinclair stayed to help his wife settle-in and was offered a room of his own in the residential wing. He decided to take it and his daughter helped him to put the house on the market.

 

Sinclair’s capital assets are over the threshold for financial help from the local council, while he understood and accepted this, he felt that, because he was a self-funder, he was denied appropriate information and advice. He was grateful for advice from a friend who had experience of the system and helped him to apply for Attendance Allowance for himself and his wife. Sinclair and his wife are self-funding two places in the care home and he is concerned that his capital, which was intended for his family, is depleting.

At the time of the interview, Sinclair was awaiting a decision on his application for NHS Funded Nursing Care for his wife.

 

Some care homes have waiting lists so Sinclair says go ahead and apply when you find the right one.

Some care homes have waiting lists so Sinclair says go ahead and apply when you find the right one.

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Well I should have, I should have put an applications in for here whenever I realised that it was a good place to go, you know, it was a good choice. Like my daughter had the wish, she brought the actual, actually brought the application if you like and I didn’t fill them in immediately that’s one of the things I should have done. I, perhaps now do you go round and visit care homes to see if they’re all right, if you don’t need to go in? No I don’t think so. The reason that you might know about care homes is that you know somebody who’s in there and you visit them otherwise you wouldn’t.

 

Sinclair planned ahead financially and thought about care homes but still feels he could have done more.

Sinclair planned ahead financially and thought about care homes but still feels he could have done more.

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Really, I mean I would think that we made fairly good preparations. You know when I look back now I think well we could have done this and we could have done that, but I did actually do a fair amount of work in getting ready for this situation, you know, yeah, yeah, yeah.

In advance of either…

That’s right.

… of you needing to think about it?

Yes, yes, yeah.

So you asked professionals?

Yes when I, I mean I, it seems as if we came in here helter-skelter but in fact it wasn’t a leap in the dark, we knew where we were going and I know the background, yes, yeah.

But people are people, they put off tomorrow [laughs] we’re all guilty of it [laughs] I am anyhow. People say to me, “Oh God you’re,” you know, “you are well prepared [name of participant]” and that, and I think no I could have done more, you know, I really do looking back, yeah I could have done better, but hindsight.

 

Sinclair’s wife was in a local care home but, after a fall, the hospital said she needed nursing care.

Sinclair’s wife was in a local care home but, after a fall, the hospital said she needed nursing care.

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My daughter and I scurried round in some haste but we did actually find a care home in [Town] which appealed because of its convenience, it was actually then half a mile of our home and Audrey went in there. It wasn’t totally unsatisfactory, it was a well run place and it was clean and it was and the people were caring but unfortunately she had another fall. This I think was more serious she was ambulanced into, back into hospital and this time they said that her condition was such that they didn’t think she could be released to a care home without nursing facilities. My daughter had been in contact with [care home] and quite suddenly came up with the news that they could actually take her in as a nursing resident which we accepted and when she was discharged from hospital she was discharged straight here so that took us from a start in April to here in November, which, [care home] kindly said that in my condition perhaps [laughs] all my caring showed that I could have if I wished have a week’s respite care beside Audrey which would have the advantage I could see her in and see that she was all right and I accepted and while I was there I got to know the place fairly well I suppose and fortunately one of the residents was leaving, his room was available in the main building and I was offered it and we took it.

 

Sinclair feels that the new care home has a wonderful caring philosophy that works for everyone.

Sinclair feels that the new care home has a wonderful caring philosophy that works for everyone.

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What do you feel about the quality of care here and in particular with your wife’s needs?

I’m fortunate in that I can answer that to some degree because we already have experience of a care home. And in fact the care home that Audrey was in first of all they made the same charge as is made for my room here. That in fact is about the end of the comparison; this place is totally and completely different, completely different. It really is a care home, that’s surrounded by people who care and they show it and it’s in the philosophy of the place, you know, there’s not, it’s quite difficult to find a structure here but it’s also quite comforting because it’s, cos they sort of bumble along yeah. Well if they had a motto I think it would be, ‘Just Do It.’

Okay.

You know? That, that…

That works.

It works, it works, they just, they just do it, you know, maybe difficult but just do it, yeah. And I mean they’re thoughtful. But my wife gets upset she I’ve got no idea what’s happening, you know but one of the staff will come along and she gives her a cuddle first, you know that epitomises, you know.

 

Sinclair describes how he feels about paying for care.

Sinclair describes how he feels about paying for care.

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I accept the inevitability of it, but there is a, it seems to me there is a dreadful unfairness in that we have been prudent over the years and I suppose at one time if you take our total estate you might say that we’re modestly rich this, our two fees together is £2,500 a month even if you’re modestly rich it runs down at quite a speed, yeah, yeah.

 

Sinclair didn’t get much information from the council but had a friend who was very helpful.

Sinclair didn’t get much information from the council but had a friend who was very helpful.

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And also is there an Attendance Allowance contribution?

Yes, and I have applied and have been granted Attendance Allowance for both of us, yes. I must say if you, well, allow side bar, I found that when we were looking into all the questions of allowances and everything else there was all sorts of council departments, town council local government authority who were, who were capable of dealing with these things until you said that you were outside the financial limit and there you’re on your own, that’s it. Fortunately I’ve got a very good friend, a lady who’s retired and seems to have made it her duty to find out what allowances [laughs] any of her friends get and negotiate them, yeah. Yeah, and it was because of her help that we actually knew about such things. As I say if you go to council here- to care, then there’s all sorts of people with the information but when you say it’ll, it’ll be privately funded they, that’s the end, yeah.

 

Sinclair has recently moved to a care home and wants financial advice after selling the house.

Sinclair has recently moved to a care home and wants financial advice after selling the house.

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And even now I’m about to turn to them for advice on, yet again only on now that we’re going to have to dip into capital, “which would be the best way?” for all sorts of reasons, best for taxation, best for further investment, and everything, yeah so in that respect, and they in fact even advised me on a solicitor to use; we’re very fortunate in that we’ve got a lady who’s very approachable has no trouble leaving her desk and coming here to talk business and go over things so and we’ve put them in touch with one another so that they can talk, you know, we’ve said, you can discuss our financial business with our solicitor etc. etc. yeah, yeah.

 

Sinclair was caring for his wife when they had a needs assessment at home.

Sinclair was caring for his wife when they had a needs assessment at home.

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I think we had a needs assessment. A young lady came round and asked us all sorts of questions; that was in the time that was in the period while Audrey was still responding to my own in-house care and I suppose we said that yes we were managing as it was.

 

Sinclair told us that the ‘shutter comes down’ as soon as self-funding is mentioned.

Sinclair told us that the ‘shutter comes down’ as soon as self-funding is mentioned.

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I think there should be an area of the local authorities which just looks at the people who, who are above this magic figure that’s been set and hopefully looking in some depth; I’m sure there’s a lot of people who have got pensions of £2800 a year, £28,000 a year and who are enormously worried, you know because they’re out in the cold, you know, yeah, yeah. Because there’s no halfway house, the local authorities are involved or they’re not, is one of the things that in fact, you know, it’s a, a shutter comes down “can you tell us” you know, “are you inside this, outside? You’re outside hum, well, yeah so I’ve put this back to the office, that’s been very interesting and it’s, we’ll put it on file.”

 

Sinclair was upset that he would not be able to leave more inheritance to his children.

Sinclair was upset that he would not be able to leave more inheritance to his children.

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So you have a pension, good pension incomes and you have some savings and obviously the value of your house?

Yeah.

So all those things together you know that you’re…

That’s right, yeah.

… in that position. Do you know how your children, your family, feel about this?

Yes, yes, yes.

Would you like to tell me?

[Sighs].

We can come back to that if you’d rather.

Yeah. They said, “Spend it all dad.”

It’s for you and your wife…

That’s it, yeah.

…to have what you need?

Yeah, in an instant (sounding a little upset) yeah.

So that’s reassuring to you that the three of them all feel, you know, they’re all together on that, which is…

Completely.

…reassuring to you isn’t it?

Completely yes, yes. But the most, the only disappointed one really is me because I had plans to leave them much better off than I started and it’s not going to happen.

 

Sinclair manages his finances himself but his daughter helped to negotiate the sale of the house.

Sinclair manages his finances himself but his daughter helped to negotiate the sale of the house.

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Oh yes, we’ve done, we’ve done all that she has a Power of Attorney, in fact all three children have Power of Attorney over Audrey’s affairs and over my affairs if need be.

Yes, so you’re obviously dealing with it yourself?

Yes, yes, yeah.

It just helps to know if you can’t get to where things need signing or whatever that your…

That’s right.

…family can deal with it?

In fact [name of daughter] couldn’t negotiate the sale of the house without having a Power of Attorney anyway.

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