Should I be Preparing for the Costs of Care in Old Age?

The cost of care is something which the UK government seems to be considering but has no plan for at the moment. Care can be free for some people but it will very much depend on what savings they have. If they own their home, they may have to sell it to pay for their care and they also may have to use savings for this as well. If they do not have savings or a home then they may get financial help for their care but this could mean that they will not be able to choose the home that they go into or the type of care that they get. Some people get cared for by their family to save money. However, with a lack of state funding and people living longer and putting more demand on public services, it is hard to know where the money might come form in the future. Depending on which party is in parliament it could make a significant difference as to how things pan out. It can therefore be a concern as you may wonder what might happen if you need care.

Should I prepare?

It is probably wise to be prepared just in case. Obviously, we will not know if we need care in old age or whether our spouse might need it. It could be that we will be healthy enough not to need it or that we do not live that long. However, most people need some help as they get older. This might not be with medical care always, but could be help with decorating, gardening and cleaning which they may have to pay for if friends and family cannot help them with it. It may get to the stage where help is needed with shopping and cooking as well and eventually with getting dressed, washing and things like this. As mobility and strength reduces, as it often does in old age, then these tasks will become more difficult. It can be hard to get financial help with household chores even if you are on a low income so it could be wise to prepare for this even if you feel that you will get the help that you need with personal care. 

How Should I prepare?

Preparing for something like this can be difficult. Rather like paying into a pension, it can seem like it is a long way away when you are young and you may feel that you need the money now rather than worrying about having it for later. It can be difficult to juggle your responsibilities when young, perhaps with paying a mortgage and bringing up a family and preparing for the future at the same time. You may also feel that if you do save money towards old age or even buy a home then you will be punished when you are older as you will not get any help because you will be seen as being able to afford it yourself, it can be quite a quandary as you may feel it is unfair if you work hard to save money and then get no help but others spend their money and then get help. However, if you pay yourself, then you get to choose which home you go in or what carers you use whereas if you have funding you may have less choice. You may also worry that there may just not be free care available by the time you need it and that your family may have to care for you and this could be something that you are not keen on happening. You may prefer to be cared for by a professional or by someone that you are not so close to. It can be hard for families to provide care, particularly with personal things. Helping with cleaning, shopping and gardening can be a lot easier than helping with bathing, dressing and toileting. It may also be the case that medical care is needed and it may not be possible for this to be done by family members.

It can be quite a dilemma knowing whether to put money aside or not. It is impossible to know whether we will need care and how much it might cost. Whether we get help or have to pay will depend on the government policy at the time and so there is no guarantee about what might happen. It is possible to take out an annuity which will help to pay for your care home fees. These tend to give a fixed income when you need it that can be paid directly to the care home, however if their fees go up they may need extra money. This can protect those that have savings to pay for care but when they run out the state takes over the cost of care and will often move then to a cheaper care home. There are also long-term care plans that you can take out which can be bought with a lump sum of money when you need it.

Tips on Spending Less Money with a Family

If you have a family then you will be very aware of how expensive it can be. There seem to be so many things that cost money that you may feel that you are always struggling to find enough to pay for everything. However, there may be ways that you can spend less money that you might not be aware of.

Compare all prices

When you are buying anything it is wise to always compare the prices. This is on everything form food to insurance. Doing this should help you to make sure that you are getting good value for money from the things that you are buying. You should be able to save money because you will not only be able to pick cheaper options but you will realise how much things cost and you may even decide to do without them or to have them less often.

Buy second hand

Many people would not consider buying second hand items but it can really help to save money. Whether you buy second hand school uniform, other clothes, books, toys or other things, you will find that you can save a considerable amount of money. You may feel that you would rather not buy things than resort to second hand but children grow and you cannot avoid buying them new clothes. Second hand goods can sometimes be unused or they can easily be sterilized in a dishwasher or washed at a high temperature. It is worth taking a look and starting to open your mind up to the possibility of second hand even if it is just books, you can save money.

Cook more from scratch

Eating out, getting take away food and buying pre prepared foods, will cost more money than cooking your meals from scratch. It is often seen as quite a chore to cook form scratch but it can make a massive difference and you can prepare food in advance. At the weekend you can quickly make a batch of granola or muesli that will set you up for the whole week and will be very much cheaper than buying the packaged version. You can also make batches of food to put in the fridge or freezer to warm up in the week. Also planning quick to cook meals such as pasta dishes and stir fries which will not take long to cook as long as you have the ingredients available in the house. So, get your food shopping organised as well. While your food is cooking in the evenings prepare a quick packed lunch for the day after and that will save you money on buying sandwiches too.

Try to ignore pester power

It can be very hard to ignore children when they demand certain things. They might want to be like their friends or have things that they see advertised or in shops. It can be very difficult to say no to children and it can feel like you are not showing your love to them if you do not buy them the things that they want. However, there is no need to buy your children lots of things to demonstrate how much you care for them, just being there for them, playing with them and looking after them is enough. You may also feel pressure for other parents or families that you should be doing the things they are. Some will have lots of holidays, pay for their child to do lots of extra-curricular activities or buy them all of the latest things and it can make you feel inadequate as a parent. It is important to be confident in your parenting ability and realise that it is not these things that you should be judged on.

Plan free activities

Doing activities with children can be really expensive. Whether you take them out to the cinema, zoos or safari parks, museums and art galleries, swimming lessons or whatever, they all come with a price. Even if entry is free you will have to pay to get there unless you live within walking distance and it is likely that you will buy food and drinks there, perhaps buy something form the gift shop and other extras as well. There are free activities that you can do which will help to save money. Picnics, playing in your local park, walking in the local area and things like this can be a lot of fun and cost nothing at all.

So, there are ways that money can be saved and these are just a few ideas. It is worth thinking about what sorts of things you spend a lot of money on and whether there are any alternatives that you can buy which will still work for you but will save a lot of money. Get the children involved in coming up with ideas and that should help you as well.