Certain major events in all of our lives are a significant expense such as a wedding. buying a home or raising a family. These are often things that we will save up for and plan for in advance. But when it comes to our so-called Golden Years we are not so well prepared – either financially or in terms of the decisions that must be made on the type of care we would wish for.

An explanation for this lack of preparation for perhaps once of the most important periods of our lives is that we don’t want to have to think about getting old and frail, and needing a carer. Quite often one partner simply becomes the carer of the other in a long-term relationship without any specific recognition of that fact. But what if you don’t have a live-in partner or they have passed away by the time you need care?

Understandably when you require care that cannot be provided by a partner or relative it is going to come at a high cost so it makes sense in all sorts of ways to plan for those costs; not least so you don’t have to sell your home to pay for care costs.

Plan ahead

Find out what your care options are before you do anything else – it is never too early to start looking to avoid the situation where you have to make a rushed decision. Did you know, for instance, that there is such a thing as live-in care (or homecare) where a carer come sto live in your home to provide for all your needs? This is an increasingly popular alternative to a residential care home but one that not everyone even knows exists.

Speak to other people when considering your care options – especially if you already know someone in a care home or who has a live-in carer job. That way you can weigh up the advantages and disadvantages for yourself based on the honest opinion of people you already know.

Don’t underestimate the cost of care

Many people do not understand both the costs and the rules surrounding government funding for elderly care so make sure you are not one of those people. What you might have to pay for care will depend on individual circumstances – both financially and medically. Some medical conditions requiring specialist nursing care may be eligible for government funding whilst others may not. Make sure you know the rules and regulations and keep up to date with them in case they change.

A residential care home and full-time live-in home care services cost approximately the same, although costs can vary according to individual needs and even the area you live in.

Funding

If you already know that you will have to pay for your own elderly care (usually because you have a certain amount of savings and income) then it is essential to plan your care properly so that if you chose, for instance, live-in care you know that you can continue to pay for it for as long as you need to.