Southern Cross – the crisis in social care, what can we do?

As the troubles of Southern Cross rumble on residents are left in limbo, not sure for certain that their home is secure. Most people place great trust in the residential care providers operating the homes where they live and assume that they will be able to enjoy safe and secure occupation for as long as they want it, but should they have such faith and what steps can they take to protect their own position?

Although it now seems likely that other care providers will step in and take over the management of most of the Southern Cross residential homes, it is not definite that all the homes run by Southern Cross will be picked up by other companies and the whole situation has caused great uncertainty for residents and their families.

Is this not a wake up call for everyone, not just for government?

As individuals we may believe that we can do nothing to prevent ourselves becoming the hapless victims of such circumstances but how many people genuinely research the nature and ownership of the organisations they entrust themselves or their relatives to?

What this situation highlights is the need for the individual to be proactive and think ahead. Increasing life expectancy inevitably means that more of us are likely to need some form of long term care but the reality is that most people are not planning ahead for that situation and consequently are leaving it too late to enquire into the types of businesses that are involved in the residential and social care sector.

As we have seen from the Southern Cross situation residential care has become big business but there are also many smaller scale, family run concerns. How many people ensure they know anything about those companies before they submit themselves to their care?

Taking professional advice on the options available and putting in place family arrangements and legal structures to help us manage our care choices is vitally important. Long term care planning involves a whole range of issues, legal, financial and practical and the sooner we begin, the greater the security and benefit we are likely to receive.

For more information on long term care and later life planning call free on 0800 9788582