The harsh financial climate is making some of the major players in the care home industry closely examine the finances of prospective residents. Are future residents rich enough to meet the costs for three or more years?
It may sound harsh but it is just another factor that needs to be taken into account when choosing a care home. It is something that one advisor suggests will become more relevant.
Owain Wright is a man steeped in care homes. His mother used to run care homes in the North West of England and growing up he saw how they worked at close quarters. Rather than run them himself, Owain has chosen to operate a not for profit company that sets out to help self-funders make the right choices. And Kent-based Owain is finding that business is booming at his Care Funding Guidance.
Expensive and confusing
“Paying for care is an expensive and often confusing episode in one’s life,” says Owain. “Few people understand how to work out the best way of paying for care and the end result is that far too many people end up losing their lifetime’s savings on paying for care. It does not have to be that way.
“We can save people tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of pounds by simplifying what is a complex subject so that purchasers can concentrate on what they really need to know.”
Slow to give financial advice
Owain has found many care homes slow to give this information to prospective clients and their relatives so while they may gain an impression by visiting a care home, the financial aspects are often still a closed book by the time they leave. But they are beginning to wake up.
Such has been the success of his operations he has been approached by two care home groups to examine the whole funding issue. They have commissioned him to run pilot schemes to ask potential residents or their families about their assets. An assessment can then be made on how long they will be able to pay their fees before turning to the local authority for help.
No need to run out of money
“We can help both sides in this situation,” says Owain. “Care homes need to know that fees can be met while purchasers also want the comfort of knowing that funding is not going to run out.
“Every year thousands of families run out of money when paying for care and our job is to do everything we can to make sure that does not happen.”
Owain argues that local authorities do not have the resources to provide impartial information and currently care homes do not have the expertise.
Few financial advisers
“There are few financial advisers who are qualified to work in this niche field and many people wouldn’t think to seek help from a suitable financial adviser anyway,” he adds.
Since writing a piece in a leading national newspaper earlier this year, Owain has received more than 1500 requests for help.
“We aim to be a safe, trusted expert and impartial organisation. Someone you can call and explain your circumstances to and receive a high level of relevant information, guidance and signposting from,” he says.
“I suppose it is obvious but if we can help stop people from running out of money then we will all be better off.”
Find out more about Owain Wright’s services at www.carefundingguidance.org