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Care home costs: What do you have to pay? [2023]

9 min read

Care home costs are a big worry for many families looking into residential options for a loved one.

People are concerned that the expense will be significant and that they won't be able to afford it.

Unfortunately, financial worries can add to the emotional pressure of the experience.

They can also cause unwelcome stress at a sensitive time. 

In this article we will try to help you understand care home costs and explore options around funding for you or your loved one.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover in this blog:

  • A rundown of the factors that will determine how much you pay in care home costs. 
  • The eligibility criteria for Government funding.
  • There are a number of funding options open to people even if they don’t meet the criteria for full support.
  • How self-funders can still claim some financial assistance for their care costs.
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How much do care homes cost?

Care home costs can vary greatly depending on the type of home and care that a person needs. 

There are two main types of care home settings – residential care homes and nursing care homes. 

A residential care home will generally cost less than a nursing home, but you need to choose a home according to your needs. 

Residential care home costs cover a more basic level of care, such as helping with daily activities such as washing and dressing. 

Nursing homes, such as those specifically catered to dementia conditions, come at a higher cost.

The extra expense comes as specially trained nursing staff are employed to help with more complex needs and provide a medical service. 

Confused about care funding?

Free Care Funding Guide Download

Care home costs: facilities make a difference

Your care home costs will also vary depending on the standard of facilities available at the home. 

Settings that market themselves as ‘luxury’ will have many impressive facilities on offer and they impact the price.

Cinemas, hairdressing and spas, cafes, bars and pubs are included in some luxury care homes.

These homes will charge more for their luxury environments.

Location of the home

Location is another factor in the price of care home accommodation.  

Homes located in more affluent areas will charge higher prices as they know the local population will be able to afford them.

NHS continuing healthcare

What care home costs will you have to pay?

Once you have chosen a care home based on level of need, location and facilities then you can start to plan how you will pay for it. 

The care home costs that you have to pay are largely based on your individual financial situation.

This means that what you pay towards your care will vary from person to person. 

You will have to pay for care if you have savings or assets worth over a certain amount. 

Where you live in the UK will determine the threshold for help to fund your care.

Local authority care plan

The first place you should contact is your local council’s adult social care team. 

You can ask to be assessed for a care plan. 

This is a document that maps out your long term care needs as well as your financial situation. 

You will undergo a financial means test, in which a social worker will establish to what extent you are able to pay for your own care.

There’s more here on all of the financial benefits for elderly people.

Normally, if you have £23,250 or more in your bank account or in assets, you will not qualify for council funding.

If you don’t qualify for council funding (i.e you have £23,250 or more in the bank or in assets) this means that you have to cover care home costs yourself. 

Some people may partially qualify for funding through the local council. 

In this case, the council would establish with the individual or family what they are able to pay and you will have to contribute the rest. 

If you or your loved one qualify for full funding from the council, you will not have to pay for your care. 

Confused about care funding?

Free Care Funding Guide Download

Things to consider when applying for a care plan

Deprivation of assets

This is when an individual gives away savings or assets in order to reduce their overall savings amount. 

While the amount you have in savings may be under the £23,250 threshold, a financial means test will still take your assets into account. 

Therefore deprivation of assets is not a way to reduce care home costs. 

Choosing your care home

Self-funded care will always allow for the greatest level of choice when it comes to finding a care home. 

However, if your care is fully funded by the council, you won’t necessarily get to decide about which care home you go to. 

They will opt for something that is financially viable and covers the needs identified by the care plan.

This won’t necessarily suit other secondary needs such as location, design, lifestyle and food quality. 

If you want to live somewhere that is more expensive than the council’s funding offer, you can opt for top-up payments that cover the difference. 

If you can’t afford to do this based on your means test, a third party family member or friend would have to pay for you.

dementia care near me

What is NHS Continuing Healthcare?

NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) allows for access to care for those with complex care needs. 

It is completely funded by the NHS and therefore you don’t have to pay anything.

Whether or not someone is eligible for NHS CHC is decided by your primary health needs. 

A primary health need doesn’t relate to any particular diagnosis.

It is based on your day-to-day health needs – their nature, complexity, severity, and unpredictability.

when should someone with dementia go into a care home

If you want to apply for NHS CHC you must be assessed by a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). 

This is made up of local GP practices and is responsible for managing the NHS CHC process. 

It makes eligibility decisions on behalf of patients and funds NHS CHC care packages.

Speak to your GP for more information about the assessment. 

what are the financial benefits for elderly

Explaining NHS funded nursing care

If you are not eligible for NHS CHC, you may be able to get NHS funded nursing care (FNC). 

This is when the NHS pays for the nursing care component of your care home costs. 

NHS-funded nursing care is paid directly to the care home at a standard weekly rate of ££219.71 (April 2023). 

Care home costs for self-funders

Those who can afford to pay for their own care home costs are referred to as self-funders. 

As a self-funder, you have the freedom to choose your preferred type of care facility that suits your needs. 

But it is important that you know how much care is going to cost you yearly, and plan payments accordingly. 

You should receive a contact from the care home, stating a fee schedule and any extras you are expected to pay.

Confused about care funding?

Free Care Funding Guide Download

If the cognitive faculty of you or your loved one is becoming a concern then you should consider setting up a lasting power of attorney

This will allow a trusted person to handle finances and bills, and make decisions in your best interests should you lose the ability to do so. 

As a self-funder, you can still apply for a number of benefits that are not means-tested even though you are paying. 

Attendance Allowance

The Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for those over the state pension age.

It provides financial support to those who need help with daily activities. 

If you need help only during the day, you can get £68.10 a week.

However, if you need help during the day and night, or if you are terminally ill, you can get £101.75 a week. 

Check out our blog on How to Claim Attendance Allowance for more information.

 

what are pip rates

Personal Independence Payments (PIP)

Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

They help with extra living costs if you have both:

  • a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
  • difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition

These payments are similar to attendance allowance, but they are split into two categories.

PIP assesses:

  • a daily living part – if you need help with everyday tasks
  • a mobility part – if you need help with getting around

At the lower weekly rate, you can receive £68.10 for the daily living part and £26.90 for the mobility part. 

At the higher rate, you can receive £101.75 for the daily living part and £71 for the mobility part. 

For more information on PIP check out the UK GOV guidance.

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Looking to the future

We hope you now have a clearer idea of your options where care home costs are concerned.

Make sure that you apply for everything to ensure you get the support to which you are entitled.

The process can be challenging but with the right information, you can make the choices that suit you or your loved one best.

 

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