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Prepare to live better - it's never too early to start planning for your future care.

Not everybody is entitled to funding from the council, we can only help the people who need it the most and those who don't have sufficient income or capital. Even if you are, the amount you get may not be enough to completely cover the cost of your care. Before you develop care needs you should think about how you are going to pay towards your care costs or even pay for it all yourself.

Planning ahead and knowing what your options are can help you to make informed decisions and help you to be more prepared. This will prevent decisions from being made in a crisis that may not then be right for you. There are also changes you can make that can have a positive impact and delay the need for care and support.

What are the most important areas when planning for later life?

These are the top ten things you may want to think about:

1. Think about how you will pay for your care

85% of adults aged 51-75 have no financial plans in place for care in their old age. Planning for your care gives you more choice and control over the care you or a family member may need.

Read our information sheet Paying for care and support services

2. Look after yourself

Making small changes now can make a big difference later.

3. Check if you are entitled to any welfare benefits

Make sure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to.

4. Plan ahead for when you can't manage your money

Think ahead about what will happen if you can no longer make your own decisions or manage your own care.

Read our information sheet Money and people who lack capacity.

5. The importance of having a Power of Attorney

6. Think about adapting your home

Adapting or improving your home can help you stay safe and independent in the future.

7. Think about downsizing

Moving to a more manageable property can make life easier, do it while you can still make decisions for yourself.

8. Think about moving closer to amenities, your family or friends

Plan ahead for when your needs might change so you can be closer to family and friends and access shops and services much easier. Think about how you can stay safe and independent, access public transport, medical services and be part of your community.

  • housing options
  • get active - Use our Community Directory to find out what things are local to you such as activities, support groups, local clubs, leisure centres and walks.  Alternatively, look at our Health and Wellbeing information about being active.

9. Find out about all the support that is available in your community

Stay connected in your community, use your skills to help yourself and others and keep yourself well and healthy.

Read our information sheet Early Help.

10. Think about the type of care you would want

It's important to have conversations with your family about the type of care and support you would want before it is needed. Think about what is important to you and how you would want your care to be provided.

  • independent financial advice can help when you are choosing how to finance your care and if it will be affordable over the long-term
  • housing options - information and advice if you think you may need to move
  • personal care in the home - when you need somebody to help with your daily routine from getting up in the morning through to going to bed at night
  • mental capacity - thinking ahead about what will happen if you can no longer make your own decisions or manage your own care

Find the cost of your care and eligibility using Which? tool

We recommend you to use the cost of care and eligibility tool provided by Which? to find out:

  • care home fees
  • cost of home care
  • if you are eligible for financial support from Dorset Council

Further information