The cost of the average length of stay in a residential care home is the equivalent of around 26 years’ worth of annual holidays for a family of four at £3,133 each[1]. Meanwhile, the average cost of a wedding, at £15,000[2], is less than one-fifth of the cost of an average residential care home stay. That’s according to new analysis by Independent Age, the older people’s charity, to launch its new, free advice guide, Paying for your care: Funding your own care at home or in a care home.

 

On average, older people stay in a residential care home for 30 months[3], at an average cost of approximately £32,000 per person for the first year, and increasing over subsequent years, coming to a total of around £82,000 over two and a half years[4], although many people could end up paying much more than this. Independent Age analysed a range of expenditures that most people would face in their lifetimes to look at how the cost of care compares. A deposit for a house is generally considered one of the biggest expenses of adulthood, with the average first-time buyer’s deposit now estimated at £32,899[5], for which people often have to save up for months or years. Yet this is roughly the same as the average cost of one year in a care home.

 

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average weekly mortgage payment in the UK is £147.60 per week, and the average amount paid for rent each week is £92[6]. That compares to an average of £605 per week for residential care and £845 per week for nursing care[7]. Other ONS figures reveal that the average annual salary is £28,200[8], almost £4000 less than the average cost of a year’s stay in a care home.

 

When it comes to the costs of care at home, these can vary widely depending on the amount and type of care needed, but average costs for someone with high care needs have been estimated at £36,950 for the first year[9]. This is the equivalent of eight funerals with traditional burials, which are estimated at £4,257 each[10].

 

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, comments, “We get a lot of calls to our Helpline about paying for care, and many people don’t realise that social care is means-tested and that there are costs involved. When you think about it in the context of a deposit, wedding, or family holiday, you start to realise how high and confusing care costs can be. We know that a lot of people don’t think about care in advance, but there are things you can do even if you haven’t planned ahead. So when the time comes, it’s important to get help and expert advice from charities like Independent Age.”

 

Around 56% of all independent sector care home residents will end up having to pay for some or all of their care themselves[11]. The care system is complex and can often be confusing and difficult to understand, especially for those paying for their own care, who may not get all the information and assessments they need unless they know what to ask for. That’s why Independent Age has launched its new, free guide, Paying for your care, which offers information on paying for care both at home and in a care home.

 

Claire Maclannan, 56, from London, who came to Independent Age for advice when her mother needed care at home, says, “It has been challenging to discover what was available and how the system and organisations work. It can feel very lonely and frustrating. There is an assumption that if you can pay you don't have a problem, but when all the agencies back off you are left to find everything out for yourself. If you are a family that has never experienced anything like this before, it is very difficult and the responsibility you feel to do a good job for the person you love can feel a heavy burden.”

 

The new, free guide is full of tips to help older people and their families who need to pay for their own care understand the process. Paying for your care provides practical information on topics such as how council assessments can help you work out what care you need, different ways to pay for your care, and what to do if your financial situation changes, to help older people and their families navigate what can be a complicated system.

 

It also aims to help people recognise the variations between different types of care, as going into a care home is not the only option. For some people, receiving care at home is what’s best for them, so it’s important to consider all the options.

 

Paying for your care is completely free to order and download from independentage.org/paying-for-your-care or can be ordered for free by calling 0800 319 6789.

 

To make a donation or find out more about how you can support the work of Independent Age and help older people stay independent, please visit independentage.org.

 


[1] Civil Aviation Authority, Survey of 2,000 UK adults who holiday abroad conducted by Mortar on behalf of ATOL from 11th - 14th March 2017, April 2017

[2] Confetti.co.uk, UK Wedding Statistics 2017, April 2017

[3] LaingBuisson, Care of older people: UK market report, May 2017, p. xxiii

[4] ‘Will the cap fit? What the government should consider before introducing a cap on social care costs’ (2017), Independent Age and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. To be published, November 3rd 2017

[5] Halifax, First Time Buyer Review, July 2017

[6] Office for National Statistics, Family spending in the UK: financial year ending March 2016, February 2017

[7] LaingBuisson, Care of older people: UK market report, May 2017, p. 229

[8] Office for National Statistics, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings: 2016 provisional results, October 2016 

[9] ‘Will the cap fit? What the government should consider before introducing a cap on social care costs’ (2017), Independent Age and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. To be published, November 3rd 2017

[10] Royal London, National Funeral Cost Index Report 2017, 2017

[11] LaingBuisson, Care of older people: UK market report, May 2017, p. xxiii

Share this article

Email Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

Print this page

Print this page