A Day in the Life of a Later Life Team Assistant in Lockdown
I have been working as an Assistant in the Later Life Team for over eight years now, and this past ten months have been without doubt the most challenging in my career. It is heartening to know however that the important work that the Team carry out is able to continue, even with a national lockdown. Here is a day in the life of our team:
The team are working from home for the majority of the week, and the first job of the morning is to deal with emails that have been received overnight. I have recently been assisting two families with deputyship applications for their loved ones. For one, I am advising a family member about how to execute the applications forms in anticipation of submission to the Court in the near future; the other we will be acting as professional deputies and the family are keeping us up to date as their relative moves from hospital to private residential care. I enjoy advising and reassuring family in this manner, as often this process can be completely alien to them. I update my own Court of Protection forms, based on the information I receive, and ensure that the family are fully up to date with the current state of play.
I am informed that a client we already act as deputies for has tested negative for coronavirus, but is having to self-isolate. The client lives independently, and manages most of his day to day life himself. We assist as and when necessary with the overall management of his finances and with any complex financial decision making. However, the client is now in isolation for the next fourteen days and will need shopping deliveries. Between us, the team are able to collate a shopping list from our client and his support network by telephone, arrange an online shop, and prepare all parties for delivery.
We receive a new enquiry from a local care home. A new resident has confirmed that we are holding her Lasting Power of Attorney, and this appoints two Partners of this firm. She retains full capacity, but has recently found it difficult to liaise with her bank during lockdown to set up payment of her care home fees and other payments. We confirm that we would be more than happy to assist her with the management of her finances, and can be as involved full time in this respect, or assist as and when she would like help with a particular matter. We arrange a Zoom meeting for tomorrow so we can discuss the matter with the lady in full, and take instruction.
The wonder of modern technology never ceases to amaze me, and by lunchtime, I had been able to consider all the post received this morning that has been scanned to me by our dedicated admin team. We receive post on behalf of most of our clients, and bank statements in particular are of great importance to ensure that our clients’ financial position is stable, and all their outgoings are being met. We regularly make payment of care fees, utilities, sundries and for services such as gardening or befriender visits for our clients, and it is therefore important to have an ongoing overall knowledge of their assets and circumstances. I note that a birthday card has also been received for a client, and I make sure that this, along with any other personal post, is forwarded on to the client in question.
It is with joy that midway through the afternoon, we learn that our Residential Property Team have completed on the sale of a property belonging to one of our clients. The client in question had moved into residential care six months’ previously and had asked us to assist with the sale of her property. It is always a relief when this goes through without a hitch, especially in this current climate, and it makes everything so much easier when we are able to utilise our neighbouring team in-house. On the to-do list for the coming days is to cancel the utilities, settle any accrued debts from the sale proceeds, ensure the monies are transferred and invested as per our client’s wishes, and to of course update our client fully on recent events and what should now be attended to going forward.
A bank statement received earlier in the day has confirmed that a client is now only a month away from having a total capital of £23,250. This is the local authority funding threshold where a person becomes eligible for funding towards their care. We contact the local authority to make sure they are aware of the position, and request application forms for the financial assessment. Funding and benefits applications can be drawn out processes but it is important to be ready for when a person may be eligible, and to apply as soon as this is sensibly possible. We also notify the person’s care home, as per the stipulations in the care contract, that funding will soon be granted and the care home update their records.
Working from home has its perks during lockdown – not having to endure the daily commute being one! However, it also allows more time to consider tasks eclipsed by urgent work throughout the day. I attend to check lists for tasks for the next days, filing any paperwork and emails received, writing up all telephone conversations and meetings comprehensively for future reference and also attend to any internal audit tasks as the day comes to a close. It is essential to have a plan of action for the next day, especially as in this job the best motto is ‘expect the unexpected!’