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Ask the Expert: Can my elderly parent get support with their care costs?

PUBLISHED: 17:58 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:58 14 September 2017

Carl Lamb, managing director of Almary Green.

Carl Lamb, managing director of Almary Green.

Archant

My mum has become unable to look after herself – my dad died a few years ago.

We’re employing a live-in carer at the moment (I’m paying for this), but her house is really not suitable for someone in her condition so she’s taken the brave decision to start looking for a care home.

She wants to move to a home nearer me and my family but this is outside her home county – she lives in Suffolk and we’re in Norfolk.

We think she may be able to get help with her care fees – she doesn’t have much by way of savings and rents her current home – so should we approach a council here where she wants to find a home or the council in Suffolk where she lives now?

Response from Carl Lamb of Almary Green.

The first step in getting help with care costs is for your mum to have a care needs assessment organised by the local authority (so district, borough or city council) where she lives at the moment.

This will ascertain what care your mother needs.

If it is agreed that she needs to be in a care home (or indeed needs any form of care, including her existing live-in carer), then the local authority will agree a care and support plan with her.

She will then need to have her assets and income assessed – known as a means test – to establish the amount of financial support she can get.

Provided the local authority agrees that she needs residential and/or nursing care and tells you what financial support she can get, your mum can then find a care home that suits her needs and her pocket.

If this is in a different local authority area, she must let both the old and the new local authorities know that she is moving into the new area so that they can work together to make sure she still gets the support she needs.

It’s worth noting that you may have been entitled to financial help with the live-in carer so it’s worth getting a care needs assessment and means test as soon as possible, to help you preserve your financial position.

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