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How to Identify When Your Loved Ones Need Care


A key part of intergenerational wealth planning is making provisions for the cost of care. While many people believe that their social care needs will be funded by the NHS, the reality is very different. The majority of older people who end up needing care will need to fund at least some, if not all, of it themselves and the costs add up quickly.

While this piece is directed towards those looking to manage the care needs of parents, it is also a blueprint that any individual/s can use to understand how best to make a care plan for loved ones.

Recognising the Signs

Identifying when your loved ones cross the line towards needing care can be tricky. Making arrangements and finding the most appropriate care provider can take time, so it’s best to make plans as early as possible.

Financial concerns may put elderly people off seeking care even if they are aware of the need. They may also feel that asking for help will place a burden on their families. Maintaining open avenues of conversation is important, so that elderly parents feel secure enough to discuss their needs when the time comes.

That being said, those in need may still feel some trepidation or be unaware of just how much they are struggling to manage, especially if it is their mental health in decline. Their loved ones need to stay abreast of any changes that take place and look for signs, however subtle, that they might need help.

Physical and Emotional Changes

From a physical perspective, look out for any difficulty walking and general mobility struggles, weight loss, or any unexplained bruises/injuries. You should also look out for any changes in their self-care, such as unwashed hair or unkempt appearance, dirty clothes or unpleasant body odours.

From a mental and emotional perspective, any out-of-the-ordinary confusion in the day-to-day should be noted. This might include forgetting about appointments or the inability to complete simple, regular tasks. Any signs of depression such as becoming withdrawn or mood swings should also be noted.

How to Discuss Care Needs

The benefit of recognising the need for care in the early stages is that your relative will hopefully only need a low level of care to begin with. This will depend on a huge range of factors including whether there are any signs of mental decline. Either way, the earlier you start talking, the more straightforward it will be.

Frame the conversation in a practical way that emphasises the opportunity to explore different options without undue pressure or panic that may cloud the decision-making process.

While you may initially be met with denial, anger or fear, this is closely linked to the inevitable loss of control that your parent might feel when confronted with the reality of the situation.

Make a list together of the benefits that help could bring and give them space to talk about any fears they might have.

Another benefit of having this conversation early on is that any cognitive decline will be at a minimum, meaning that your parents can feel more in control of the situation and voice any particular desires or concerns that they have.

Understanding your Options

Guidance from a financial adviser with knowledge and experience in later-life planning can help to smooth the process. Specialists such as our team at VWM can help you and your family to understand the choices available and make a step-by-step plan.

We also have the benefit of being more removed from the process and better equipped to guide the conversation in a practical direction. Understanding the steps that need to be taken will help to alleviate stress. We can also help with cost management using financial forecasting.

The next post in our bi-weekly care series will cover how to assess your parent’s needs and subsequently explore the care options available. For guidance and support with any aspect of later life arrangements, contact our team at VWM today.

The information contained within this communication does not constitute financial advice, medical advice or other and is provided for general information purposes only. No warranty, whether express or implied is given in relation to such information. Vintage Wealth Management or its associated representatives shall not be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the content of this communication.