Organising mum and dads finances

Hi all,

First post so be gentle.

My dear mum has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 68. Shes had a terrible run of luck with two broken hips, a spinal fracture, multiple myeloma (currently in remission) and now a very rapid onset of this blasted disease. We were concerned about forgetfulness the past year or so but its really only the last 2 months where there has been a dramatic decline.

Dad is 70 and relatively healthy though struggling massively to cope as she deteriorates. We dearly hope to be able to care for her at home and im currently holding on for redundancy from my job so i can assist full time. I do worry he wont be able to hold on until then though so wanted to try and help him position their finances most appropriately in case she does need nursing/residential care at some point, either soon or way down the line.

It feels awful to be talking about the money side of things when the main priority is clearly her care but having witnessed my nan pay well over 6 figures to the LA for care in a home in which she was often the only self funder, i am very aware that the system is far from perfect.

Anyway, the situation as it stands is that mum and dad jointly own their home and have approx 60k in a joint account (mostly the remnants of dads pension lump sum) , from which all bills go out and both their private and state pensions go in. POA is in place for both parents.

My advice to dad was going to be to open a bank account soley in his own name and transfer half the joint account balance in to it. Then have his private pension paid into his new personal account. His state pension would continue to go in the joint account and all bills and spending would come out of the joint account. The idea being that the joint account would gradually dwindle down whilst his personal account built up.

Does anybody see a problem with this in terms of deprivation of assets should the need for a funding assessment arise at any point? I feel this is quite a conservative approach and although keeping the joint account in both names it wouldn’t matter if the LA considered the whole of it to be hers because of the original fund transfer.

Is there a better way to go about this?

Closing the joint account and setting them both a personal acccount up perhaps? With thebalance/bills/spending equally distributed?

Or is it just simpler to leave well alone and accept that she would have to self fund until the joint balance dropped below £46k?

Every approach seems convoluted and unclear to me and i want to remain as transparent as possible.

The other question is regarding tenancy in common. Ive read a fair bit about it and understand it is a good way to protect half the equity of their home in the event my dad passed away first. (a serious consideration given the stress hes under, precisely what happened to my grandad tbh). Im guessing though that as mum has already beem diagnosed this would not be so straightforward, even with POA, and worry it may be considered deprivation of assets. Anyone any experience of that situation?

Apologies for the long post but desperate to do something to help but dont want to give the wrong advice.

Hi Dominic … welcome to the forum.

My immediate reaction ?

Seek expert advice from AGE UK across the board !

( I gave up counting the number of considerations that arose from your posting after the tenth ! )

WE could have a crack at answering many of those considerations but … as a whole package … and to ensure the end result
is concise and watertight as could be against all possible future challenges
… AGE UK !


We dearly hope to be able to care for her at home > and im currently holding on for redundancy from my job so i can assist full time.

That IS possible under CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare … Pointon … more on that if needed.

If ever approved , said care would be FREE … changing part of your proposed ball game ???

Again … AGE UK … they can offer advice on that aspect as part of the whole picture.

In the interim , what help are your parents receiving from their LA ?

Upto date needs / carers assessments done … written copies held.

Power of Attorney / wills … AGE UK will talk you through those if not already in place.

All benefits / allowances currently being claimed … possible Council Tax discount ?

A final question … are you prepared to become one of us … and everything that goes with it …or … prefer to be what we
call a " Care manager ? " … thus retaining part of your own life ???

Hi Chris, thanks for the swift reply, ill try to get in touch with Age UK to clear my muddy waters a little.

We havent had a needs/care assessment done at all yet… It just seems to have happened so fast tbh and she deteriorates every day. We coped fine through her cancer treatment but the speed of her mental decline afterwards was astonishing. The urgent memory clinic referral, scan etc took around a month and we only received a diagnosis last Monday.

I applied for and was granted attendance allowance for her in the meantime, council tax exemption form has been sent in. Thankfully we managed to get the POA completed a few months before the worst began and they made wills a few years ago.

As for your final question… Who really knows i guess? Ive always been incredibly close to my mum and i do want to do it, she was always there for me and id like to repay the debt. My dad is just not equipped for the job im afraid, and seems to be making the situation worse, so im already doing 30-40hours round there on top of a full-time job. I feel as though either i do it full time or she will inevitably go into a home. Having seen my nan outlive the odds in residential care im well aware this is a dangerous assumption but with my mums comorbidities (cancer, osteoperosis, chronic kidney disease) i feel as though its worth taking a few years out of my life to try and give her the best care possible. It will be very difficult for me to do without a redundancy payment though so all hinges on that for now.

Thanks Dominic.

Pleased to see some progress in immediate areas.

( Worth looking at even now : CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare : )

AGE UK … probably fed up with us for the number of referrals but … the price they pay for being the acknowledged experts
in this field … probably double the number of likely referrals in the years ahead as the population ages.

On the personal caring front , I leave you with our Lord Kitch :

After reading that , do you REALLY want to be the 8,813,437 th. recruit ???

( You’ll soon learn both nursing and doctoring skills as part of the package … and balancing the Unholy Trinity …
eat / heat / roof … when it comes to finances … local food bank not far away ? )

You know where we are … feel free to drop in anytime !

( Sorry … make that 8,813,439 th. … 2 more joined by the time I had finished this post ! )

Welcome to the forum, there a lot to consider here are a few “starter questions” to consider.

Don’t make any rush decisions that you may regret later.

How old is dad?
How old are you?
Do they own their home?
Does mum, IN HER OWN RIGHT, have more than £23,000 in savings?
Same question, but for dad.
If dad is over 60, the value of their home should not be taken into consideration.
If she has under the savings limit, in her name only, then Social Services should pay some, or all, of her care fees.
Does dad have Power of Attorney for mum?
Do you have it sorted for dad?
Do you have any brothers and sisters?
Do you like your job?

Is dad claiming Council Tax Exemption for mum, on the grounds of “Severe Mental Impairment”? (Backdateable to day of diagnosis!)
Claiming Attendance Allowance for mum?

Asked Social Services to do a Needs Assessment for mum, and a Carers Assessment for himself?

Hi bowlingbun, thanks fir the reply.

How old is dad? 70

How old are you? 43 (ive been overpaying my mortgage to try and get it cleared so i could look after either of them… Unfortunately alzheimer’s didnt like my schedule and arrived a couple of years early. Ive no kids and my missus works full time)

Do they own their home? Yep

Does mum, IN HER OWN RIGHT, have more than £23,000 in savings?
Same question, but for dad.

They have one account, in joint names with approx 60k in. This is where my dilemna lies.

Does dad have Power of Attorney for mum?
Do you have it sorted for dad?
Do you have any brothers and sisters?

One sister who helps a lot but has kids of her own. POA is all sorted, we each hold it jointly for each other.

Do you like your job?

Not really, i certaintly wouldnt miss it and could easily find something more fulfilling, though less well remunerated, in the future.

Is dad claiming Council Tax Exemption for mum, on the grounds of “Severe Mental Impairment”? (Backdateable to day of diagnosis!)
Claiming Attendance Allowance for mum?

Yep to both.

Asked Social Services to do a Needs Assessment for mum, and a Carers Assessment for himself?

I need to sort this but thought getting the finances in order first might be better.

Great to hear that you are so organised, I think that skill is going to be needed a lot in future!

Here are a few IDEAS ONLY about various options. It’s always important to think of as many different possibilities, then gradually whittle them down into Yes/No/Maybe.

One possible solution is for dad to formally employ you to care for mum for a while. To do it properly, tax, NI etc.
Find out what the “going rate” per hour is in your area for dementia support carers, and for residential EMI care (Elderly Mentally Infirm).
You are already “working full time” for mum and dad if you are doing 40 hours a week!

Is there any EMI day care locally? Some care homes may offer this. It would give dad peace and quiet for a few hours a day, and would mean the home could gradually get to know mum better, for possible respite now and then. I know it’s not what you want, but what mum NEEDS in future that is paramount. Don’t fall into the trap of saying “I’ll never put you in a home”. Again, this might be needed if the dementia becomes severe.

That’s assuming dad will agree to any of this of course. Does HE understand the threat to his finances? Is HE the biggest problem at the moment? Would counselling help him?

Can you give us a bit more about dad? What is he struggling with most?
I’ve seen my father in law really struggle when mum in law developed dementia. It was terribly sad that they’d been married for over 60 years but then she took off her wedding ring as she didn’t remember being married, or who she was.

Is their house in good order? Do they need a new bed, or carpets? Maybe an accessible bathroom. None of these should count as “Deprivation of Assets” which you need to be very careful of.

There is a care unit nearby where she has been going to an exercise class for a few weeks, i believe they do taster days and we really need to try one, this coming week if possible… To give him some space at home to take stock if nothing else.

He is really struggling tbh… Yesterday i was kinda having a day off from it… I had them round mine for an hour at lunch then left them to it promising to call round for an hour in the evening to check they were ok…

. As i walked up the street to their house my mum ran towards the window waving her arms and i let myself in to find dad curled up in the kitchen sobbing hysterically that he couldn’t do it anymore.

She had started sundowning and refusing tea, wanting to go home etc and after listening to her talk rubbish all day he just couldn’t take it. I know it isnt easy but im suprised he cracked so soon. Tbf she does seem to be in a near permanent state of psychosis now… Very frequent vivid hallucinations, frequent delusions but they are generally managable if you approach them in the right way. Whether its denial or he just isnt cut out for it i dont know but he just seems to exacerbate them. Im probably being a bit harsh aswell… He is doing more than any of us of course and is older to be dealing with it. Im not sure he’ll ever not be able to take it personally the times she doesnt recognise him etc though.

And if he really doesn’t want to do then i can’t force him. Perhaps some counselling would help him.

Hello Dominic
Before my now late husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia, he was in hospital because of a stroke. He had suffered several mini ones unbeknown to me.
To cut the situation short, he had delirium, and was phoning me several times a night, being verbally abusive. I broke too, was so hysterical my daughter nearly called an ambulance for me!! He was never abusive to me or any one, and its a dreadful shock. You are not being harsh, but your Dad must be so scared and devastated. I know you are too, my daughters were. After I had my hysterical 5mins I think it released the pressure that was building up. I hope it helped your dad to sob it out. Very difficult for you, worrying about both of your parents. It made me stop and think, that I must be strong as my family had enough on their plate.It may occur to your dad quite soon. I do hope so.
Thinking of you.

Kind words much appreciated pet, thanks.

Yep, stressful times… But on we plod x

He definitely needs counselling.

He’s been through so much with all her other illnesses etc.
From my own experience each crisis with my carees (I’ve had TEN altogether) has left me slightly less robust.
My youngest son is now 40, he was brain damaged at birth, nothing I do will ever, ever change that.
It’s really tough, extra tough when you are mentally and physically exhausted.
I’m sure he has had all his hopes of retirement utterly torn apart (as mine were, when I was widowed) so there will also be an element of grief in all this too.

Mum may have just been diagnosed with dementia, but what you describe now is really serious.
I’m afraid that mum really needs residential care almost immediately. Perhaps ask for some respite as dad needs it, then sit down with dad and ask him “Where do we go from here, Dad?”. There should be no “guilt” here, it’s not his fault mum is so ill, just focus on what mum NEEDS not what you want.
Is his GP aware of how much dad is struggling?

Sorry bun ill reply to this a little later cos im at work rn and i can feel myself getting upset and i cant be blubbing in front of a factory full of roughnecks. :smiley:

Dom, sorry if I upset you. Look after yourself at work.

No no dont worry… Not you at all… Just thinking about it isnt it.

Im good now, lid back on x