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Care Home Costs & Fees Explained

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It’s true that care homes have a rep for being costly – in fact, 91% of UK Care Seekers think that care homes are expensive! 

However, with 94% of Care Seekers also adding that care providers are not transparent with their pricing and a whopping 97% believing that their care homes unfairly charge additional fees, it’s clear that there is work to be done when it comes to open conversations about care home costs and what exactly they include. 

If you’re just starting out on your care home journey, or you’re just after more information on what you might need to pay in the future, read on for our handy guide to care home fees.

How much are care home fees in the UK?

The cost of a care home depends on what type of care home it is. For example, a residential care home offering basic care and support with daily activities like washing and dressing will cost less than a nursing home that employs specially trained nursing staff to provide medical care for certain health conditions. 

You can also expect to see costs increase based on the facilities the home offers; luxury care homes with more facilities and activities for residents can afford to charge higher fees. 

Care home costs also depend on where you live. For example, if you live in England, you’ll find that care homes are more expensive in the capital and its surrounding areas than care homes in the South West, say.

Average Care Home Costs

Research from LaingBuisson showed that average care home fees in the UK range from £27,000 to £39,000 a year for residential care, increasing to £35,000 – £55,000 per year if nursing care is added to the mix. 

To give you a ballpark figure, in 2020, average residential care costs in the UK were £34,944 a year, increasing to over £48,720 a year for nursing care homes.   

Care home fee breakdown

Care home fees are often broken down into numerous different categories, including meals, laundry, bills and care costs. In the UK, a normal care home fee breakdown typically looks something like this:

  • 50% goes to staff costs
  • 30.0% – 32.5% is for EBITDARM (another word for Profit before Tax and Other Deductions)
  • 5% is spent on food and beverages
  • 5% covers medical costs
  • 2.5% is for utilities 
  • 5 – 7.5%% is for other costs (this includes admin, cleaning and laundry, insurance, repairs and maintenance, marketing and more).

When entering into a contract with your chosen care home, always ask for a clear breakdown of expected costs and don’t forget to read the small print – you don’t want to be landed with hidden fees or additional charges for services not included in your care package, such as day trips, hairdressing or visits from the GP. 

Residential care home fees

Residential care costs typically cover a basic standard of care, from help with daily tasks like washing and dressing, to administering medication. 

The average weekly cost for a UK residential care home is around £704 and the average monthly cost is £2,816. However, you’ll find that costs vary greatly across countries and regions. 

For example, you can expect your weekly residential care costs to come in at around £546 in Northern Ireland, all the way up to £850 in Scotland.

Nursing home fees

The average weekly cost of a UK nursing home can be £800-900, while monthly nursing care costs can total an average of £3,552. 

This is because nursing care and its staff are more expensive to provide than standard residential care. 

Whereas elderly people in a residential care home may be able to live a mostly independent life with basic support, nursing home residents might struggle with daily life and have certain medical conditions that require regular treatment from experienced registered nurses. 

Dementia care home fees

Care homes that provide specialist care, such as dementia care homes, will usually charge higher fees than both residential and nursing care homes. 

This is partly due to the specialist staff that are needed to care for residents 24/7. Residents may also need to cover costs for special therapy equipment and more significant medical treatments. 

Currently, people with dementia in the UK have to fund the complete cost of their care – and annual dementia care costs can come in anywhere between £30,000 and £80,000.

Other types of medical conditions that tend to have more expensive treatment costs include cancer, mental illness, learning disabilities or physical disabilities. 

This is because some medical conditions can be complex and involve symptoms that need tailored support packages, which are often charged at a premium rate.

Respite care home fees

Respite care homes offer short periods of care for someone whose carer is on holiday or cannot care for them due to an emergency. 

There are lots of different respite care options, as each case is unique and the best way to work out exactly what kind of respite care someone needs is through a means assessment. However, the average cost of respite care in the UK is £700-800 a week, although prices can increase to £1,500 in certain cases. 

Privately funded location based costs

The UK care home system is a bit of a postcode lottery – and some countries and regions are more expensive than others. Carterwood’s UK market reports on the average cost of care provides more of an idea of how much you can expect certain areas of the UK to cost in care home fees:

AreaResidential care costs per weekNursing care costs per week
East Midlands£1,048£785
East of England£1,205£943
London£1,271£1,031
North East England£892£733
North West England£1,055£748
Scotland£1,069£924
South East England£1,339£1,006
South West England£1,196£921
Wales£995£745
West Midlands£1,133£815
Yorkshire & The Humber£1,019£733
UK Wide£1,142£860

Find care homes in your area

Use our amazing care home search tool to find local care homes, or use one of the popular location links below to discover some fantastic care home in your area.


Who pays for care home costs?

When it comes to paying for care, you have several different options:

  • Self-funded – If you have enough savings, you will be classed as a self-funder and will be expected to fully fund your own care home costs. 
  • Local authority-funded – Your local authority or council may be able to provide financial support with your care home fees. A friend or family can also offer to pay a top-up fee towards the cost difference between homes, if your chosen care home is outside your budget. 
  • NHS-funded – In certain circumstances, you may be able to have your care fees paid for by the NHS through the NHS continuing healthcare funding scheme.

To work out how you will pay for your care, you will need to do a financial assessment, or means test, which assesses your income and capital, as well as the value of your home, if you own it. 

How your financial situation will affect costs

If you have an income, pension, benefits or savings, you may be able to afford care home costs on your own. As a rough estimate, in the UK if you have savings equal to or in excess of £23,250 you will qualify for self-funding, whereas this figure is closer to £28,750 in Scotland and £50,000 in Wales. 

If you have a figure of £14,250 to £23,250, you’ll be able to partly contribute to your care fees, usually through your weekly income. You’ll also be required to pay an assumed extra income of £1 per week for every £250 of capital you have between these two figures.

If you have less than the lower threshold of £14,250, you won’t have to pay for your care home fees, but you will likely have to use most of your weekly income.

If you’re worrying about not having enough in your savings, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to decrease your care home costs, including certain financing options and benefits, such as Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carer’s Allowance if you have a carer. To find out which benefits you may be eligible for, check out our guide here.

Help with fees

Before you start paying, you’ll need to do a free care needs assessment, which you can get from the adult social services department of your local council or authorities. This must be arranged through your local council before you start looking for care homes, to ensure you receive any funding help you may be eligible for.

After the assessment, you will be advised whether you need care or not – and if you do, you will then be given recommendations on the type of care you need; for example, residential or nursing. You’ll then be able to start looking for care homes. 

For more help with care home fees, financial support and claiming local authority funding, we have a great guide which you can read here

Will I have to sell my home to pay for care?

This will depend on how much is in your savings and how you intend to pay for your care home. 

When you apply for care, your means test will work out how best you will be able to pay for your care. 

You don’t have to sell your home if you are receiving care and support at home, or if you are applying for short-term care. If you are applying for permanent care, you will not have to sell your house if it is still occupied by a partner, or in certain circumstances, a child, a relative over the age of 60, or a relative who is classed as being disabled.

If there will be no one living in your home once you go into care, you may need to sell your home to help cover your care home fees. However, there are circumstances where the value of your house is not included in the financial means test, such as the Equity Release scheme. Read on to learn more about this.  

Equity release

The Equity Release policy is for people over 55. It gives you a way to access the value tied up in a property and turn it into a cash lump sum, without having to sell your house. 

There are plenty of online tools available to help give you an idea of how much money you could receive from using this scheme. 

However, be advised that Equity Release policies can be costly to get wrong, so we recommend you get financial advice before making any decisions. 

The costs seem a lot – do I have to go into care?

If you have been assessed as needing care but you would prefer to stay in your home for now, there may be alternative options for you. Live-in Care and personal care services are often cheaper and can help you or your loved one out with day-to-day tasks, including:

  • Assistance with washing and toileting
  • Help with getting dressed and brushing hair
  • Administering medication
  • Incontinence care
  • Help with cooking, cleaning, shopping and running errands

Live in Care is a preferable options for some people and their families. 

Summary

We hope you now have a good idea of what different care homes around the UK tend to cost. We understand that finances can be very stressful, which is why Lottie are here to help take the pressure off. 

We have your back every step of the way when you’re choosing your care home and working out your potential care home costs. 

We’ll make sure that you find a great care home to suit you, all at an affordable price for your budget. Contact one of Lottie’s care experts today to start your care home journey.

Free Care Home Shortlist

Let Lottie get your search off to a great start by requesting a free bespoke care home shortlist created by our team of care experts.

Call us 0800 669 6840

Free Care Home Shortlist

Let Lottie get your search off to great start by requesting a free bespoke care home shortlist created by our team of care experts.

Call us 0800 669 6840

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