5th October 2020
There are a large number of people in their 40’s and 50’s who are facing additional concerns over the health and welfare of their parents as they grow older.
This particular age group already has a lot on their plate, they are likely to be working, running a household and have children living at home or who are young adults that are still dependent on them to a degree. Whilst they are at their highest earning potential, they are still likely to have large outgoings such as mortgages, car payments and are financially supporting their children through higher education.
As parents approach their late 70’s their physical frailty and mental capacity can become a major concern. Perhaps they have already had some health scares or falls, or family members have noticed signs of dementia. Their grown-up children become responsible for their care and may need to help them more often with tasks such as shopping, household chores, gardening or taking them to medical appointments.
We look at some of the things you should consider getting in order if this situation sounds familiar.
First and foremost, you will need to consider the daily care that they require and think about what is practical in both the long-term and short-term.
Are you able to care for them yourself or between other family members? Do they need a professional carer to visit them? Are they best suited to a residential or care home? Does their home need any adaptions to make it safer and more practical for them?
Age UK’s website (link at bottom of this article) has lots of advice and links to useful care providers than may help you.
Often people are concerned about the cost of care homes and whether families will have to sell their property in order to pay for care home fees. Now may be a good time to set up a meeting with an Independent Legal Adviser who can look at the best place to draw funds from. Seek specialist advice if you are looking to release equity from the family home as this is complex area that needs consideration before jumping into.
It is important to check that your parents have written a will, that it is correct, up to date and you know where it is stored. 25% of over 55’s have not made a will, so it is worth checking rather than assuming they have made provisions already.
Family circumstances change and families grow over the years so it is worth checking that older parents have reviewed their will recently to include everyone they wish to benefit from their estate and also to confirm they are happy with their chosen executors.
It may be worth booking a meeting with a solicitor to see if there are any inheritance tax savings that can be made if they are looking to make gifts from their estate. Having a valid and well-written will can make life a little easier when going through the heartache of administering your parent’s estate and it can also halt any family disagreements along the way.
With over 850,000 in the UK living with dementia, loosing mental capacity is one of the biggest concerns for people with aging parents. With other medical problems there is usually a solution and prescribed road to recovery but with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia there is unfortunately no cure or set outcome to expect.
Those with a family history of dementia or who are concerned about their parents mental capacity should seriously consider putting measures in place so that important decisions can be made on their behalf if they are not longer able to care for themselves.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) will appoint a trusted person or persons responsible for making legal decisions on their behalf. There are two types of LPA, one that covers health and welfare (decisions about medical treatment, care, where they live etc.) and one that covers finances (access to their bank accounts, sale of property etc.).
If someone has already lost their mental capacity and has been assessed by a medical professional then you can still put measures in place by applying to the Court of Protection, but this is a more complex route.
It can be incredibly difficult watching your once full of zest parents become frail and in poor health and even more challenging to cope with if you are responsible for their care.
Wherever possible try to share the responsibility of caring with other family members, neighbours or care professionals as doing it alone whilst continuing to work and look after your own household can be demanding and mentally exhausting.
There is support and guidance available via groups online and offline. It is important to remember to look after yourself so that you are able to give your support to others.
If you are looking for some legal advice on behalf of your elderly parents such as reviewing wills, estate planning, drawing up lasting powers of attorney, equity release or selling their property then please speak to our friendly and professional team of Solicitors at Lamb Brooks.
Lamb Brooks have been helping families in Basingstoke and North Hampshire for over 230 years and are well placed to give careful, considered advice to the people you care about most.
Call us on 01256 844888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our online chat assistant at any time of day to arrange a call back.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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