Financial crisis prompts more calls on care advice

Posted in: Research Last updated: 12 Feb 2009

Against the backdrop of a deepening financial crisis, leading independent care advisers, Grace Consulting reports more and more people are seeking help in the struggle to find elderly care solutions for themselves and their relatives.

According to charity, Counsel & Care, funding a care home is the biggest concern for older people1, findings which are backed by Grace Consulting which has seen this compounded by the economic downturn and its effect on property prices:

“About 70,000 people sold their home last year to pay for care. But faced with falling prices and a lack of potential buyers, people are now having to find alternative ways of funding their care,” warns Grace Consulting Managing Director, Chris Cain.

“With misconceptions and much confusion around the costs of elderly care, individuals need to make use of good quality advice,” he urges. “Lack of understanding about what help is available to fund care and at what level the state will step in to help are all too common”.

Many people don’t know or understand how the value of their assets affects paying for care2 and in particular, that the situation applies differently in the case of couples. Where one of an original couple continues to reside in the family home, for example, its value will be disregarded when an assessment is made of assets.

Engage Mutual, one of the largest providers of over 50s life cover in the UK3, offers free access to a level of elderly care advice from Grace Consulting to purchasers of its over 50s life cover4 direct from engage.

The service was introduced following customer research which revealed that concerns around elderly care were top of the agenda for many of its customers.

“With a growing aging population, elderly care issues are here to stay and will potentially affect us all,” cautions engage Marketing Director, Karl Elliott. “As with many life issues, the better these events are planned for, the better we are able to cope if and when they arise.”

For help and advice options on elderly care issues contact Grace Consulting on freephone: 0800 137 669. For information on the engage Over 50s live Cover Plan, call 0800 085 0400 or view online at engagemutual.com.

1. finding & Financing Care in Hard Times, by Counsel & Care

2. generally, people are expected to pay privately for a care home or care home with nursing if they have more than £22,250 in England (£21,500 in Scotland, £22,000 in Wales and £22,250 in Northern Ireland) of savings and investments (the upper threshold), including the value of their home, although a sliding scale applies for lesser amounts. Source: www.graceconsulting.co.uk

3. swiss Re Term & Health Watch 2008. engage came third of the top five product providers measured by the number of new sales, 2007

4. Grace Care Guidance level 1 – policyholders have free access to Grace Care Guidance. Should a higher level of guidance be required, such as a specific search or more detailed consultation, policyholders may choose to upgrade their advisory service level. This would incur a charge from Grace Consulting although policyholders would qualify for a £50 discount on the fee.

engage Over 50s Life Cover:

  • monthly premium payable depends on the level of cover chosen, age, gender and tobacco habits
  • the plan is available to UK residents aged 50 to 80.
  • pays out on death and has no cash in value at any time
  • accidental death benefit is payable in years one and two with full cover payable after 2 years of premium payments
  • pays out 150% of premiums if death occurs within 2 years of taking out the policy
  • in some cases there may come a point when the premiums paid will exceed what would be paid out on death.
  • over time inflation will reduce the buying power of the lump sum payout
  • if payments stop before age 90 the plan will end and life cover will cease
  • the lump sum paid out may be subject to inheritance tax unless the policy is written in trust.
  • engage Mutual Assurance can be contacted on 0800 169 4321 or by visitingwww.engagemutual.com

    For more information contact:
    Kathryn McLaughlin
    PR Manager
    01423 855245

    For information on Grace Consulting:
    Tom Tanner
    Tanner King
    07976 288636

    notes to Editors:
    1. engage Mutual Assurance is a trading name of Homeowners Friendly Society Ltd (HFSL), Registered and incorporated under the Friendly Societies Act 1992, Registered number 964F and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, engage Mutual Funds Limited (eMFL) and engage Mutual Insurance Ltd (eMIL). Both HFSL and eMFL are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). HFSL’s Register number is 110072, eMFL’s Register number is 181487. eMIL is authorised to conduct general insurance business by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and is regulated by the Financial Services Authority for the conduct of UK business. eMIL’s FSA Register No is 485680. You can check this on the FSA’s Register by visiting the FSA website www.fsa.gov.uk or by contacting the FSA on 0845 606 1234.

    2. engage is one of the larger UK mutuals providing simple, value for money savings, protection and investment products. It currently helps over 420,000 customers of all ages to protect, preserve or enhance their welfare, with some of the most straightforward products on the market. engage prides itself on being a family-oriented, modern mutual, providing products that help enable households of all kinds to plan their finances to help meet their future needs. More information on engage Mutual is available at www.engagemutual.com

    3. engage supports mutuality, friendly societies and the regional financial services industry through links with the Association of Mutual Insurers, the Association of Friendly Societies, Mutuo and Leeds Financial Services Initiative.

    4. engage Mutual Funds Limited (EMFL) is a provider of the Child Trust Fund direct and in partnership with organisations including Yorkshire Building Society and Scarborough Building Society.

    5. engage Mutual has been the title sponsor of the Rugby Super League since 2005 and has extended its agreement to 2010.

    6. engage Mutual announced its entry into the health cash plan market in July 2008 following an agreement of partnership with Wakefield & District Hospital’s Contributory Scheme (WDHCS). Further to this, 30,000 health cash plan customers transferred from Premier Health Benefits (part of WDHCS) to engage Mutual Insurance Ltd.