Funding for dementia care may seem confusing at first glance. This blog aims to comprehensively explain the funding options open to you for dementia care for a loved one.

Dementia is devastating for any family and can have an overwhelming impact on your finances. There are approximately 700,000 families caring for loved ones with dementia in the UK  and many of them are not eligible for the financial help they need.

The Alzheimer’s Society states that: “…every three minutes, one person in the UK develops dementia”. Sadly, there’s currently no cure for dementia and many people face the condition alone or struggle with inadequate care.

If someone has dementia, it’s likely that most of their care needs will be classed as social care needs rather than healthcare needs. This means if they have assets, including the value of their property, of over £23,250, they will be responsible for funding their own dementia care. They may, however, be eligible for some benefits to support their care.

What funding is available for dementia patients?

You might be wondering ‘are dementia patients entitled to free care’ or ‘how to get funding for dementia care’. Discover ways of funding for dementia care in this article.

There are three ways of funding dementia care:

  • NHS continuing healthcare funding
  • Local authority funding
  • Self-funding

NHS continuing healthcare funding

Thousands of people across the UK need ongoing care due to disabilities, accidents, or illnesses. NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) funding is only available for medical care needs due to a disability, accident or major illness. It is not means-tested so if you meet the medical criteria you will be eligible and the NHS will fund the full cost of your care.

It is helpful to know these facts when it comes to NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) funding:

  • Diagnosis of dementia doesn’t guarantee NHS continuing healthcare: it’s not judged on someone’s diagnosis. Eligibility is determined by someone’s day-to-day care needs and how they should be met.
  • Eligibility is not for life: NHS CHC is based on care needs and it is common for these needs to change over time. Needs are typically reviewed three months after the original decision was made, and each year after.
  • It doesn’t cover everything: if you’re in your own home, NHS CHC does not cover things like rent, mortgage, food, or usual utility bills.

So to summarise, the diagnosis of any medical condition, including dementia, is not enough for NHS continuing healthcare funding to be awarded. Dementia can come in various forms, such as Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body Dementia, and Vascular Dementia. There are varying levels of severity and each can affect people in broadly different ways. Therefore, care needs will be different for each person with dementia.

The NHS CHC assessment checklist covers general health needs, such as:

  • Mobility
  • Breathing
  • Continence
  • Communication
  • Psychological and emotional
  • Nutrition
  • Skin integrity
  • Cognition
  • Behaviour
  • Symptom control
  • Altered state of consciousness

You can find out more about NHS continuing healthcare on their website.

What happens if I’m not eligible for NHS CHC?

If it’s decided that you’re ineligible for NHS CHC, these are the steps you can take:

  • You can appeal the decision and ask them to reconsider your case.
  • You can request to be referred to your local authority, who can carry out a needs assessment to assess your care and support needs. If this assessment identifies you need help, you will have a financial assessment (means test) to see if the council will pay towards it. Your home will not be included in the means test if you receive care and support at home.
  • Even if you are ineligible for NHS CHC, you may be assessed as requiring nursing care in a care home. You then qualify for NHS-funded nursing care, which means they will contribute to some of the costs.

Dementia is a progressive disease meaning families face difficult decisions when their loved ones’ care needs change. It might become apparent that a person is not coping and more support is needed.

Local authority funding for dementia care

There are national rules set for who needs to pay for care and support, although these can vary depending on your local council. Generally speaking, it depends on the type of care and support a dementia patient needs, where you live, and the services/funding available.

The local authority will undertake a free needs assessment to establish the level of care your loved one requires. If your loved one needs care, a financial assessment will be carried out.

A financial assessment will establish if the care will be paid for by the local council, if you should contribute to the cost of care, or if you will have to self-fund your care. There are thresholds for savings and assets, above which you will need to pay for your own care.  The upper limit for 2020-21 is £23,250. If you have capital between £14,250 and £23,250 the local council will fund some of your care and you will need to contribute to the costs. If you receive care in your own home, the value of your home will not be included in the financial assessment and you should be offered a personal budget so that you can make your own care arrangements.

Paying for my own care

You will not be entitled to funding for dementia care if you:

  • have savings worth more than £23,250
  • own your own property (this only applies if you’re moving to a care home)

If you want to self-fund your dementia care, you can:

  • arrange and pay for care yourself without involving the council
  • ask the council to arrange and pay for your care (the council will then bill you–not all councils offer this service and they may charge a fee if they do)

Even if you choose to self-fund your dementia care, your council can do a needs assessment to check what care you might need.

What benefits and funding for dementia care can I get that isn’t income dependent?

You might be able to get some free help regardless of your income. This includes:

Your loved one may also be entitled to certain benefits. If your relative is not eligible for funding for dementia care, they will be entitled to a number of benefits that will help towards overall costs. These include:

  • Attendance Allowance (AA): a benefit paid by the UK government to people of state pension age or older who are physically and/or mentally disabled. You should make sure they are receiving attendance allowance as this is not means-tested. This will give them a weekly amount of between £47.80 to £71.40, depending on their needs.
  • Disability Premium: a benefit paid by the UK government to people under state pension age who are physically and/or mentally disabled. You must be receiving another benefit, such as Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, and/or Armed Forces Independence Payment.
  • Carers allowance: an amount paid by the UK government to the carer of someone who receives other benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, and/or Armed Forces Independence Payment.
  • Your relative may also be entitled to reductions in council tax, help with heating and insulation, and help with repairs and improvements to their home.

You can find further advice on funding care on the NHS website

When should I ask for help with dementia care of a loved one?

A number of concerns will trigger families to reconsider their care arrangements. These include confusion, disorientation, refusal to eat, and dangerous behaviour. Safety is the top priority. If you feel your loved one’s safety and wellbeing are compromised, it is important to ask for help and have a professional assessment of their care needs.

What happens next?

Around two-thirds of people in the UK currently living with dementia are in their own homes. Unpaid family carers play a vital role in supporting these individuals–keeping them safe and comfortable.

If your relative has dementia, the assessment process to provide care is the same whether the care is going to take place in a care home or at the person’s own home.

If your relative’s dementia means they would be more comfortable in their own home with 24-hour support, then Mumby’s Live-in Care can help you through the process.

Dementia and live-in care: what are the benefits?

People living with dementia often find change confusing and threatening. This is why arranging for care in their own home can be a great option for people that are no longer safe to be left alone.

A live-in carer will do all they can to promote your relative’s independence while keeping them safe. For example: if your loved one enjoys tasks such as cooking, a live-in carer can help them to prepare a meal. It could be things as simple as watching a TV show, looking through photos, and sitting in the garden. It’s helpful for people living with dementia to feel as independent as they can. Some other benefits include:

  • a familiar environment
  • regular routines
  • close to family and friends
  • one-to-one care

Read more about the benefits of live-in care for dementia patients

Arranging live-in dementia care

If you decide that live-in care is right for your loved one, then the provider you choose will be able to provide a free assessment of your loved one’s needs and advise on costs and funding.

Mumby’s is here to help

If you would like to know more about the benefits of live in care for dementia patients, or how Mumby’s can help your loved one with dementia care, please call us on 0800 505 3511 for a friendly chat. We can arrange a no-obligation free care assessment for your loved one and develop a personalised care plan for them.