Caring for Ageing Parents

Caring for ageing parents presents challenges for carers, family members and the parents concerned.

This article is a summary of aspects to consider when helping ageing parents, as adapting to change is key for all. Adapting to change as a result of developing health issues and changes to living can be very stressful and often difficult to recognise by the person(s) affected. This poses challenges for friends and family, when concerned about daily living and life management. However, if family and friends recognise physical and mental challenges, this can be useful trigger to raise awareness. It is also important to consider that a bereaved parent may become Isolated and lonely, which can often lead to behaviour change and exacerbate mental health needs. Recognising physical and mental health needs for ageing parents is essential, but it also important to respect their choices, until it becomes necessary to help. This may involve a Care Needs Assessment or Continuing Health Care Plan, which will; be carried out by the NHS, if the parent is in hospital and further care plans need to be arranged. Adult Social Services are also required to arrange a Care Needs Assessment to ensure that a care plan can be arranged to ensure a person receives the right care. The levels of care and support will vary depending on the individual needs and choices. Practical solutions for daily living and health care needs will be factored into the ‘Care needs assessment’. The aspect of care costs is also a concern for people and often causes further stress and anxiety. There is a formal process contained within the Care Act 2016 (revised) to ensure that people are helped to cover care costs. It also useful for people to check the UK Government Benefits assessment calculator to check whether there is further entitlement to financial help: www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

The current cap on care costs are:

  • England £23,250
  • England £23,250
  • Wales £23,750
  • Scotland £26,250
  • Northern Ireland £23,250
These figures are the basic cap, which protects personal assets when care costs are assessed. If an ageing parent wants to appoint an Attorney to manage health or financial matters, this is covered by the Office of the Public Guardian. If an ageing parent lacks mental capacity and has been formally diagnosed with degenerative brain condition, then the Court of Protection will manage to process for a family member to seek permission from the Court to manage a parents financial or health management. Other factors may need to be considered, if there are financial concerns with debt issues that may need managing. Step Change is can help: www.stepchange.org

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