HOW MUCH DOES SOCIAL CARE ACTUALLY COST?
Costs in many premium-priced homes will be in excess of £1,000 per week (1) Navigating the social care system can feel overwhelming and complex. At St. James's Place, we are committed to helping people meet their financial needs in later life – our financial advisers are there to help.
We all hope to remain healthy and independent but, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
So just when you think your living expenses have reduced (perhaps because you have less desire to travel or go out, perhaps you are less able to do these things), all of a sudden you have the additional expense of obtaining some help at home – or going into a care home or nursing home.
Few people plan for how they will meet the cost of paying for care should the need arise. Decisions about care are more often than not made at a time of crisis and navigating the social care system can feel overwhelming and complex.
Whatever your current position, it will always pay to be prepared. Having a good understanding of options, benefits and support that are available to you (regardless of your financial situation), and costs involved with these services, as well as ensuring some simple planning is done in advance, can help you and your loved ones save a lot of time and expense.
How much do care homes cost?
Costs in many premium-priced homes will be in excess of £1,000 per week, and over the last ten years the average cost of residential care has increased by 50%1.
If fees continue to increase at the same rate, in ten years the current average costs of £32,3441 will become £48,516 per annum – a figure that is generally much higher than what people spend when they are fit, healthy and live in their own homes. However, the cost of care varies throughout the UK.
Cost of in-home care
Even if you choose to receive care in your own home, this will come with significant cost. The average cost of care from an independent provider is £15.52 per hour1, so if you need care just three hours a day, seven days a week, this will cost £326 per week, or £16,948 per year.
There are many different care options available if you reach a time when you feel a need for some extra help. Being aware of the all the care options available to you in advance may help alleviate some of the pressure should you need to make the decision in the future.
Also referred to as ‘domiciliary care’, this is what most of us would choose as a first option. Care at home does not have to mean personal care, such as help and support with washing, dressing, feeding or mobility, it could mean a hot meal, a laundry service, help with cleaning or even keeping the garden tidy.
Not only is it a realistic alternative for most, but local authorities try to support this for as long as possible if you are eligible.
If you need help with day-to-day personal care, with 24-hour support staff, this might be the right option. Some residential homes may have a registered nurse on their staff, but this is not the same as being a registered nursing home.
Some homes provide residential and nursing beds. These are often referred to as ‘dual registered homes’ and are often suitable for people whose needs are likely to increase or change in the future.
If you have been assessed as needing care from a registered nurse, then a nursing home is likely to be more suitable for you. It provides support similar to that provided in a residential home, but with provision of care by registered nurses and a higher staff-to-resident ratio.
If you are assessed as needing nursing care, you should be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare or NHS-funded nursing care benefit, so it’s important to make sure you are assessed for the support.
Looking after your finances can have a dramatic effect on your ability to pay for the type of care or care home that you require. The problem is that nobody can predict how long care will be required and therefore how long it will have to be paid for, so it’s essential to ensure that the care home you choose is affordable in the longer term.
Unfortunately, one in four people who fund their own care run out of money1. Most commonly, this is because they don’t consider all the options or take proper advice. For most people, paying for care means creating income from the capital and assets that are available. There are a number of ways to do this, each has its own advantages and disadvantages and not all of the options will suit everyone, so it’s important to understand how each fits your own circumstances.
Each case must be considered on its own merits, so it is vital to take professional advice. At St. James's Place, we are committed to helping people meet their financial needs throughout their lifetime, and long-term care planning is no exception. Even if you have sufficient income to cover your care fees, there may be other benefits or support available to help you.
Please contact your St. James's Place Partner to discuss the options available to you and your family.
1 LaingBuisson, Care of Homes for Older People UK Market Report, 2019