Laszlo celebrates big birthday two years early!

Laszlo Bartus, Manager at Steepleton Manor Care Home got more than he bargained for when he celebrated his 58th birthday this month.

Staff made him a special cake but had run out of candles so were forced to use a 60th birthday candle!

Laszlo was fortunately good humoured and made the most of the celebration with his colleagues. A good time was enjoyed by all.

Why Couples Need to Plan for Care Home Fees

Financial planning for retirement and later life rarely includes the possibility of care home fees. Yet, even for people with modest assets who are receiving local authority funded care, fees can take a large chunk out of your estate. For couples it is particularly important to plan ahead and minimise your exposure.

The rules are quite complex and will change again in 2020 when the cap of £72,000 on care costs comes into force. Because local authorities are short of cash they are rigorously enforcing the rules that require people to fund some or all of their care.

Currently, anyone with assets of over approximately £23,000 will need to pay the entire cost of their care. The value of your home isn’t counted for care received in your own home but may be if you need to move into residential care. In most cases the fees are collected from the estate rather than being paid at the time.

This is where the wording in your Will becomes important. If one partner needs to go into residential care, it is possible to protect at least half of the estate from being used to pay the cost of care. However, you need to plan this while both partners are still alive. Once one partner has died there is very little you can do.

Giving away assets during your lifetime to avoid care home fees will almost certainly fail and can make life very complicated for the beneficiaries. Placing your home into a trust while you are alive so that it is effectively ‘owned’ by your children is also risky. If the council decides that you acted to deliberately avoid care home fees they will still try to recover them.

Passing half of the combined estate directly to your children on the death of the first partner also carries risks and complications, particularly for the surviving partner.

The safest option is to have a solicitor write appropriate trust arrangements into your Wills. This is the most effective way to minimise the amount of your assets that can be used to pay care bills and protect at least half of the estate for the surviving partner. And remember to review these arrangements periodically as the rules around fees and eligibility are likely to keep changing.

As ever, the further you plan ahead the better. If you don’t have a Will or if you haven’t considered the possibility of care fees you should talk to a qualified legal practitioner now to ensure that you have covered yourself for the future.

Employees of the Month – December

We are delighted to reveal our Employees of the Month for December 2017 for each of our care homes. Each month, care home managers at Sherborne House, Steepleton Manor and Weymouth Care Home will hand pick team members who demonstrate a passion for their role and go above and beyond to provide excellent standard of care and support to residents.

Our Employees of the Month for December are:

Steepleton Manor

Abigail Prout

Abigail has been nominated as she has done exceptionally well and worked hard with a great attitude in her new role as activities coordinator. She has a great personality and a happy joyful manner, and residents really connect with her and really enjoy the activities she plans for them.

Sherborne House

Natasha King

Natasha recently transferred from Carer to Activities Coordinator.  She has done an exceptional job organising outings, bonfire night, Remembrance Day and Christmas. She puts all her heart into her new job role and the residents love taking part in her activities.

Weymouth Care Home 

Michelle Wigger

Employee of the Month for Weymouth Care Home is Michelle, who is a healthcare assistant. She is wonderful at stepping in when shifts need covering, and has been a loyal member of staff at Weymouth Care Home.

Many congratulations to all of our Employees of the Month!

Dementia Talk at Sherborne House

Members of the public are invited to a talk on dementia at Sherborne House Care Home in Yeovil on Thursday 18th January at 6pm.

Teresa Mason from The Alzheimer’s Society will talk about what it means to have dementia and how loved one’s can support family members who may have dementia.

For more information please contact Sherborne House Care Home on 01935 423210.  Light refreshments will be provided.

Sherborne House is part of Altogether Care and provides residential care for those with dementia.


Exposing the Myth – What is the Care Sector Really Like?

From the outside it’s easy to have a distorted, or even gloomy, picture of social care. The stories that make the press are the ones where standards of care have fallen way below the acceptable, or of care homes in severe financial difficulties.

These stories are obviously a concern, and there’s no doubt that the sector faces challenges. But the real picture of day-in, day-out care is more cheerful and optimistic.

There are nearly 1.6m people employed in adult social care. The stories that make the press represent a minuscule fraction of that workforce. People are not drawn to the sector because of the financial rewards, they do the job because they are caring and motivated by wanting to help people.

A healthy and functioning society can rightly be judged by how well it takes care of its vulnerable and less able members. The care workforce is the vital part of the infrastructure that delivers this support. They often work in difficult circumstances and deserve our respect.

As people live longer we cannot have a functional society that claims to be compassionate without a healthy and properly funded care service. It really is time that both central and local government took a serious look at the level of fees they need to pay to ensure we can deliver sustainable, high quality and person-centred care for everyone who needs it.

Christmas festivities at Altogether Care

Residents and staff at our care homes participated in a variety of festivities last month. Pictured is Steepleton Manor residents, their families, and staff after Christmas lunch on Christmas Day, and Santa visiting residents at Sherborne House during their Christmas party.


Some recent day to day activities