Addressing the UK’s elderly care crisis this winter

The UK’s elderly care crisis has been in the spotlight amid claims that we trail behind much poorer nations in caring for our elderly.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says countries such as the UK and the US should study pioneering approaches to elderly care taken by nations such as Chile and Brazil, as well as in South East Asia.

It is a reminder that the UK has yet to get to grips with how best to care for its elderly. It is a worsening problem, as we have a growing population and a generally longer life expectancy, which is going to place even greater pressure on the care system in the coming decades.

At Browell Smith & Co Solicitors, it is an issue that we are very familiar with: we help scores of people each year to negotiate the sometimes-complex process of accessing NHS Continuing Care, as well as reclaiming care fees that should not have been paid in the first place.

We also help families and individuals with critical life planning processes such as wills and trusts, and lasting powers of attorney.

It is at this time of year that we tend to receive the most enquiries about care home fees.

Winter and the elderly

The issue of elderly care seems especially poignant as winter approaches. Winter brings with it a number of factors that can threaten the health and independence of elderly people – these in turn can often lead to a decision to start considering residential care.


Wind, rain, ice and snow can all make it more difficult for people who struggle with their mobility to leave the house. For younger people, a slip on ice might lead to mild embarrassment; for the elderly, it could lead to a more serious injury and potentially a stay in hospital.


Cold and damp weather can exacerbate conditions such as arthritis, while life-threatening illnesses such as flu and pneumonia are more common through the winter.


Heating becomes more expensive to run at this time of year and there is significant risk of the elderly living in very cold conditions throughout the winter.


This isn’t directly caused by winter, but can be made worse by the above issues: illness, isolation and stretched budgets can all lead to elderly people losing access to regular healthy, hot meals.


With these factors in mind, this is the time of year when many people decide that their needs would be best met by a residential care home.

Not only does this represent a huge lifestyle decision: the costs involved can be very high. In fact, care home fees are one of the biggest concerns that many Browell Smith & Co clients face.

There are also a lot of schemes that claim to offer ways to manage assets in such a way that care home fees can be avoided. These are problematic, and we will address these in a blog in the near future.

If you are facing large care home fees, believe you or a relative has been over-paying, then we may be able to help. Call us today on 0800 107 3000 or email for a no-obligation chat and we’ll steer you in the right direction.


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