Cost of social care reforms: Veteran's family sell house to fund bill

Cost of social care reforms: Veteran’s family forced to sell his house to fund £1,400-a-week Alzheimer’s bill and daughter who had to sell parents’ £350,000 home and mortgage her own to pay for mother’s nursing care

Two examples of how new system works – and the real families affected 

Widower who’d save £123,000

The Government yesterday gave two fictional examples to demonstrate how the social care plan will benefit pensioners:

Yusuf is in his late 70s and has lived alone since his wife died from cancer ten years ago.

He moved out of their family home in Hastings after her death, and downsized to a smaller home worth £180,000 – leaving him with £70,000 in savings.

Yusuf moves into a residential care home after developing dementia. Although he can no longer cope at home alone, his underlying health is good and he spends eight years at the home. His care home costs £700-a-week.

Under the existing system, Yusuf would spend around £293,000 on his care from his assets and income – leaving him with £72,000 in assets.

But under the new system, he hits the £86,000 cap after two years and four months.

This means he no longer needs to pay for his care from either his assets or income. He only needs to contribute to daily living costs. This leaves him with £173,000 – 70 per cent of his original assets.

Over his entire time in care, Yusuf spends £123,000 less than under the current system.

£48k boost for retired couple 

Mary and Bob are pensioners living in a £90,000 home in Cheshire with joint savings of £10,000.

They planned carefully for their retirement and have a joint weekly pension income of £762.

Mary has dementia and Bob is her main carer at home. But Bob then suffers a stroke and the couple need to move to residential care.

Under the current system, Mary and Bob would have spent around £114,000 towards their care over the course of two years. They would only have qualified for state support at the end, when each reached the upper capital limit of £23,250, which would be based on half of their shared assets. This would have left them with around £44,000 in assets.

But under the new plan, the couple immediately become eligible for state support due to the wealth of each of them being below the new £100,000 upper capital limit.

Compared to the old system, the couple would save £48,000 from their income and assets over the course of their care.

 Cost cap would’ve comforted us all

Jimmy Quinn’s family was forced to sell his home and cash in his life savings to fund his care after he developed Alzheimer’s disease.

The Falklands veteran needed specialist dementia care after his condition deteriorated during lockdown, leaving his family facing a £1,400-a-week care bill. 

Jimmy Quinn’s family was forced to sell his home and cash in his life savings to fund his care after he developed Alzheimer’s disease

His daughter Natalie said they had to sell his home in Yeovil and his ISA savings to fund the costs, and said the Government’s reform would have been a comfort to her family.

She said: ‘My parents worked so hard for everything and had been careful with their money all their lives, so it was really sad to have to sell dad’s ISAs and the house they loved, but it was the only way to pay the care home bill.’

Mr Quinn served in the Navy as an aircraft mechanic and was stationed on the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible during the Falklands Conflict in 1982.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year and died in February, aged 75.

His daughter said: ‘He had been living at home with mild dementia but then all of a sudden he became very confused and would go out walking the streets. He almost got run over, and then he left the gas on, so we just couldn’t cope.

His daughter Natalie said they had to sell his home in Yeovil and his ISA savings to fund cafre costs

‘Sadly he died eight weeks after we sold the house, but we were expecting that he would need care for months and months, maybe even for years. 

‘These changes have come too late for me and my family, but it is a step in the right direction, and it would have helped us to know that there was a cap on how much money we would have had to find.’

We had to sell family home our mum had lived in for 60 years 

Sharon Clay was forced to sell her parents’ £350,000 home of 60 years to pay for her widowed mother’s nursing care.

Four years on, the money has run out, and now she faces mortgaging her own property to finance 92-year-old June’s final years.

Support: June Clay and daughter Sharon on a day out. Miss Clay was forced to sell her parents’ £350,000 home of 60 years to pay for her widowed mother’s nursing care

Yesterday Miss Clay, 65, a retired personal assistant, said the social care reforms were ‘too little too late’. ‘If this cap had been brought in sooner mum would probably have £150,000 left in the bank, which could potentially have bridged the gap for the rest of her days,’ she said.

Mrs Clay, a retired factory worker, and her carpenter husband, Jim, lived in a former council-owned end-terraced house, in Barking, east London, for 60 years. They eventually bought the property, where they raised two children, Sharon and older brother Stephen, now 69.

Mr Clay died in 2014. Then in January 2017, Mrs Clay fell and suffered a serious bleed on the brain, meaning she needed round-the-clock nursing care.

Mrs Clay, a retired factory worker, and her carpenter husband, Jim, lived in a former council-owned end-terraced house, in Barking, east London, for 60 years

With little left in savings, the siblings had no choice but to sell up to pay for their mother’s care home fees. ‘The fees are around £6,000-a-month, we’ve been paying that for four and a half years. It has cost the best part of £300,000,’ said Miss Clay, of Hornchurch, east London.

She visits her every day and has been working with campaign group Rights for Residents for better access to care homes during the pandemic.

It’s too late to keep the house dad loved 

As the Luftwaffe carried out raids over London, schoolboy Harry Garrod sheltered in his family’s home.

Years later, the Post Office worker raised his own family in the same house with wife Doris, and the couple dreamed of passing it on to future generations.

Harry Garrod raised his own family with wife Doris, and the couple dreamed of passing their house on to future generations (pictured together)

But after Mr Garrod’s death, his family was forced to sell the three-bedroom house to pay the £1,100-per-week care home costs for his widow, who suffered from dementia.

Their daughter Lynne Holmes said: ‘Before he died, dad said, ‘Please don’t sell the house, keep it in the family’. We wanted to honour that wish… We had five generations enjoy family gatherings there.

‘But we couldn’t afford to keep it, we had to sell it to try to fund mum’s care.’ The family had owned the house in Beckenham, south-east London, since it was built in 1935 and Mr Garrod had often talked about his wartime experiences there.

He died in 2019, aged 91. The house was sold in April this year to pay for Mrs Garrod’s care.

Tragically, she died just three months later. Mrs Holmes said: ‘This has all come too late for us, but it would have been a comfort if this new law would have let us keep the house.’

Tough decision: Lynne Holmes and sister Jill Wilson outside their parents’ Beckenham home

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