The true cost of care
Everyone wants somewhere safe, comfortable and secure to live, particularly as we get older and start to rely more on others for help. One of the concerns around arranging care for yourself or a loved one is just how much that care might cost.
There’s no straight forward answer to this question as everyone’s needs are different and there are multiple different types of care available, but we’ve put together a useful guide to at least help you begin to better understand the true cost of care.
Home care is often used as an umbrella term for any type of care provided within someone’s home.
One of the most affordable forms of home care is where a family member or friend is able to look after the individual who needs it. This ensures more control over the scheduling of care requirements whilst allowing for a degree of ongoing independence.
You can visit them on a semi-regular basis to provide them with the care they need in their own home. Or alternatively, they can move in with you so you can care for them on a more permanent basis. Unsurprisingly, over 97% of elderly people in need of care would prefer to remain in the comfort of their own home*. This also has the added benefit of allowing you to visit them as and when needed, whilst maintaining your own space.
The cost of caring for someone yourself can vary depending on their specific circumstances. But there are generally a few things that you may need to budget for, including:
- Specialist equipment (such as walking frames or adjustable beds)
- Handrails (between £50-£150)
- Stairlifts (upwards of £900)
- Ramps for easy access to the property (£40 or more)
- Shower facilities including holding rails (£200 or more)
These, alongside other typical living costs such as medication, utility bills, food, council tax and rental/mortgage costs should all be taken into consideration when weighing up the most suitable care option.
Live-in care is one of the most comprehensive forms of home care. With around the clock care from the comfort of their own home, the recipient can stay close to family, friends and neighbours, whilst enjoying additional companionship and minimal disruption to their preferred daily routine.
With Country Cousins live-in care, we match each recipient to carers who are best equipped to support their specific needs and nature. Whether that be a great cook who can rustle up fresh, homemade meals or a conscientious driver who will get them to their appointments on time, you can be sure that our Cousins will treat their home with the same amount of care and respect they would treat their own.
Live-in care costs start at around £840 a week or £3,400 a month. With the average comparable care home care costing around £880 a week, or £3,500 a month, live-in care is generally considered to be a cheaper alternative to living in a care home, whilst still providing a level of independence and the comfort of remaining at home.
It’s worth noting that as with all forms of home care, you will need to take into account any additional costs associated such as specialist equipment or ongoing bills. You’ll also need to factor in a weekly food budget with the live-in carer, this can cost around £30 – 50 a week.
For more information about live-in care, check out our Live-In Care Guide.
Domiciliary / Visiting Care
Another form of home care, domiciliary care, otherwise known as visiting care, is where your loved one receives care from the comfort of their home by a professional carer visiting at set times each week. Whether that be to provide help with getting around the house, preparing meals or conducting simple housekeeping tasks. This form of intermittent care provides independence without the need for family support.
Costs for domiciliary care can be anywhere between £10 – 30 an hour depending on the type of care needed. Overnight care can cost between £100 – 200 a night, where the carer will offer support overnight, should that be bathroom assistance or just providing peace of mind that someone is on hand should it be required.
As with all forms of home care, you will need to factor in any additional costs for specialist equipment or ongoing bills.
For more information about domiciliary and visiting care, visit our sister agency, Patricia White’s who offer hourly visiting care across London.
With assisted living, residents have their own living space (for example, an apartment or bungalow) set within a larger shared living complex. By buying or renting a space independence is maintained, with the complexes providing staffing and nursing 24 hours a day and emergency support on call should any accidents occur.
The cost for assisted living arrangements varies greatly and depends on a variety of factors, such as location, level of staffing the complex provides through to the size and facilities of the living space. Small accommodation can cost from £500 a week, but larger properties can cost anywhere between £1,000 and £2,000 a week.
Although the homes come with cooking facilities, you will need to factor in the cost of food and other day-to-day essentials. There may also be a need to pay a separate cost for the nursing services provided. Each complex is different though so be sure to conduct thorough research before committing to any one complex.
In a care home, your loved one will be in a shared home with other residents, surrounded by 24-hour care.
All residents have their own private space, usually consisting of a bedroom and bathroom. All communal areas however are shared, such as garden areas, lounges or dining rooms. All meals are prepared in the care home, with staff helping to bathe residents and conduct medical care. Low risk residents are often able to leave the facility during the day, although most residents require ongoing care.
An average care home will cost around £50,000 a year for one room. If additional care is needed for more specific conditions, such as dementia, this cost can rise to around £60,000 a year.
Care home costs do however cover everything in terms of living accommodation, food, medical care and physical care. The only additional costs that may occur are for any additional extras like day trips and hairdressers. There may also be additional charges associated with personal protective equipment worn by staff in the event of contagious illnesses spreading within the home.
Can the government help with funding costs?
All forms of care can be expensive and so in some cases, the government can help with funding.
To understand if you or your loved one is eligible for support, you will need to speak directly to your local authority / local council and complete a care needs assessment. It’s worth noting that, in the UK and Northern Ireland, if you have assets of more than £23,250, you’re automatically discounted. This discount is essentially a governmental contribution towards the overall cost of care. They will work out if you need to contribute towards the cost of your care. Your local authority may pay for all or just some of your care costs.
A means test is also required to assess eligibility. Means tests are essentially an appraisal of the recipient’s financial circumstances, this establishes what they’ll need to pay towards the total cost of their care.
The overall application process can take between 2 and 3 months so if possible, make sure to start the process in plenty of time.
What benefits are available for care recipients?
There are a number of government benefits available for those who need care. Although they won’t always help towards funding the cost of the care, they can help towards day-to-day costs.
Personal Independent Payment (PIP)
Personal Independent Payment is a benefit that goes towards covering the costs of long-term disabilities and health conditions for those below the age of 65. You could expect to receive the following:
- Standard weekly rate for daily living component, £57.30 a week
- Standard weekly rate for mobility component £22.65 a week
- Enhanced weekly rate for daily living component £85.60 a week
- Enhanced weekly rate for mobility component £59.75 a week
To apply for PIP, you will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The assessment is then evaluated based on the level of support needed as opposed to financial situation.
Attendance Allowance helps to cover costs associated with care for those aged 65 and over. Much like PIP, it’s based on the level of care needed and not simply financial position. You could expect to receive the following:
- If care is needed on a day and night basis, £83.50 a week
- If care is needed on a day basis only, £55.65 a week
To claim Attendance Allowance, you will need to fill out a form and submit it to the DWP for assessment.
*One Poll Study – July 2014
Talk to our team today
We are the UK’s longest-serving introductory live-in care agency and have been providing compassion care to those who need it in their own homes since 1959.
Call our experienced team today on 01293 224706 to discuss your live-in home care needs and receive a free no obligation quotation.