Life expectancy is the highest it’s ever been.  A report published by Public Health England (PHE) earlier this year, found that life expectancy in England has risen to its highest ever level.

In West Sussex, people have a relatively high life expectancy, with male life expectancy at 79.9 years and female at 83.5 years, both slightly higher than the figures for England as a whole (ref.  West Sussex County Council).

As a lot of us are living longer and healthier lives and achieving a good quality of life for longer, it makes sense to think about our later life care needs before we need it.  But what are the options and where do we start?  Here are a few things you could consider.

Firstly, don’t rush into anything.  Speak to the people who know you best – your family and friends – and let them know that you are thinking about your future care needs.  What sort of help are you most likely to need?

Where will you live?  Where would you prefer to be cared for?  How can you best continue to enjoy your life, maintain independence and keep in touch with friends and family?  Could you make adjustments to your current home and stay at home with support from carers either by the hour or with 24 hour live-in care.  This could be privately funded.  Your local Social Services can give you advice and if you were eligible, could fund the care in your own home.

Another consideration could be ‘downsizing’, moving to a smaller more manageable property.  Developers are increasingly building new properties designed specifically for the over 55’s, offering facilities aimed at creating a community.  In some cases these developments have an on-site care manager who is available 24/7 for emergencies.

For some, residential care may be the best solution.  It is often the default solution but can be more expensive than engaging a live-in carer.  Our blog last month compared live-in with residential care .

Options for funding care can be quite confusing.  The Citizen’s Advice Bureau can offer lots of help and guidance, particularly when it comes to what you might be eligible for.  Here are some of the support options which could be available:

Attendance Allowance – if over 65 years of age and in need of help with personal care because of a physical or mental health problem, you could be entitled to a weekly sum of money to help.

Carer’s Allowance – if a friend or family member is spending more than 35 hours a week caring for you, an allowance of up to £62.10 a week could be available.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – both children and adults with long-term ill-health or a disability can benefit from this allowance to help with extra costs.

NHS Continuing Healthcare or NHS funded nursing care – if someone has complex medical problems or needs specialist nursing care, then an assessment can be made to check eligibility for a NHS Continuing Healthcare budget.  In some cases, personal health budgets are being introduced by the NHS enabling people to have more choice and control over the care they need.

Otus Live-in Care has a register of over 250 experienced live-in carers who can look after every level of care from companionship right through to end of life.  Whether you are doing some early planning for yourself, or have a need to consider live-in care for a loved one, we are always happy to offer our advice, without obligation.  Call the Otus Live-in Care team on 01403 710119.

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