Monday, 15th October 2012. I awoke to the day of my first appearance on radio. The week before, BBCEssex Radio had invited me to join a panel of experts for a round table discussion about “Is elderly care in crisis” on the Dave Monk show. I was assured that it would be on Radio and not TV, which was lucky as I have a face for Radio, definitely not TV.
The night before was somewhat restless with nerves and would you believe the battle against ManFlu. Now as all us men know, this is a serious condition and one I could have done without when about to make my debut appearance on radio. How am I going to speak without coughing? How would I not cough, sniff and splutter whilst others were talking? One thing was for sure, I was not going to phone in sick, can you imagine? I can hear Dave Monk now “we were going to have a Holistic Financial Planning expert but he phoned in sick” not the image I wanted to portray.
So, I manned up, dosed myself up, gave myself a good talking to and off I went. My good friend and colleague drove me to the radio station whilst I chewed on various cough and cold sweets. I think by the time I arrived, I was somewhat buzzing on medication, legal medication I hasten to add.
Whilst waiting in the BBC Essex Radio Station reception I met my fellow panellists and we made small talk and introduced ourselves. We were taken through to the room where the ‘live’ discussion would be broadcast. My nerves were supressed by the medication but it was hot and stuffy in the room, not ideal conditions for a man with ManFlu.
A very interesting debate was had; some very passionate views about a subject which was obviously very close to people’s hearts.
To open the discussion, facilitated by Dave Monk, we heard from Katie Warren who recently had a bad experience with her late Mother. Katie is very passionate about improving elderly and vulnerable people’s care and is in the process of developing a website www.whereisthecare.co.uk her aims are to transmute the fear, pain and suffering her elderly mum and her family experienced into positive action. Please visit Katie’s website and share any stories you may have to help Katie in her aim to communicate the care that is available, that people just don’t know about.
We then heard from Clive Weir owner of Boars Tye care home, Paul Mavin from Southend Borough Council, Tracey Greatrex from Essex Cares and Brian Balmer Chief Executive of Essex Local Medical Committees; all of which were also very passionate about their important roles they play in the care of the elderly.
About 30 minutes in, it was my turn! “But first, let’s go to the traffic” said Dave Monk.
Whilst the traffic was on and then a song (Robbie Williams, if I remember rightly) I sipped my water and tried to keep the cough at bay.
“So, Paul Hoskin IFA / Independent Financial Adviser what is the common question that people come to you with” asked Dave (By now we are on first name terms).
“Well Dave, that’s a good question…..
I proceeded to tell Dave and the listeners the costs involved in going into a home and that typically, I have two types of client who are seeking advice in this area. I have the client who is about to go into a home and is looking for the best way to pay for the care and minimise the effect on their savings and assets. I also have the client who has potentially many years to go before long term care becomes an issue and is looking to plan in advance. In my opinion, planning is key with all finances, some of which we don’t necessarily want to address as they can be sensitive areas which bring home our mortality but if we address them early enough then plans can come to fruition in a timely manner and financially ease a difficult period of time.
My conclusion of the debate is; that there are a lot of people who are passionate about elderly care and do a great job in their area of involvement in this high profile sensitive area. I share Katie Warren’s view that there needs to be an improvement in making people aware of the care that is available to them and how they can obtain it “people don’t know, what they don’t know”. From a financial point of view, I also believe that people need to be aware of the products available to them, the features and benefits and how they can effectively plan for their elderly care.