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 aren’t transparent with their pricing and a whopping 97% believing that their care homes unfairly charge additional fees, there’s clearly work to be done when it comes to 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 for your care in the future, read on for our handy guide on average care home fees.
Use our directory to find a care home near you.
The cost of a care home depends on what type it is. For example, a residential care home offering basic support with day-to-day activities like washing and dressing will cost less than a nursing home that offers 24/7 support for all residents via specially-trained nursing staff.
Costs will increase based on the facilities the home offers. Luxury care homes with a greater variety of facilities and activities for residents will usually charge higher fees.
The cost of care also depends on where the home is located. Generally, you’ll find that care homes are more expensive in some parts of England, including London and Kent.
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.
The following table shows the average weekly and monthly care fees for the different countries in the UK:
|Country||Weekly Cost of Residential Care||Monthly Cost of Residential Care||Weekly Cost of Nursing Care||Monthly Cost of Nursing Care||England||£681||£2,951||£979||£4,242|
Residential care costs typically cover a basic standard of care, including help with daily tasks like washing, dressing and assisting residents with medication.
The average weekly cost for this type of home is around £704 and the average monthly cost is £2,816 across the UK.
However, you’ll find that costs vary greatly across countries and regions. For example, weekly residential care costs come in at around £546 in Northern Ireland and go all the way up to £850 in Scotland.
The average weekly cost of a UK nursing home is £888, while monthly nursing costs total an average of £3,552.
Nursing care homes are generally more expensive, as they provide round-the-clock care for residents who may have complex health conditions. These types of care homes also provide personal care - but there will always be at least one qualified nurse on duty.
Care homes that provide specialist care, such as dementia care homes, will usually charge higher fees than both residential and nursing homes. Dementia can be complex and sometimes requires 24/7 care, and residents may need special therapy equipment to support them.
At the moment, people with dementia in the UK have to fund the complete cost of their care, unless they have assets totalling less than £23,250. Annual dementia care costs can come in anywhere between £30,000 and £80,000.
Other types of specialist care that tend to have more expensive treatment costs include cancer, mental health, learning disabilities or physical disabilities. Some medical conditions can be complex and involve symptoms that need tailored support packages, which are often charged at a higher rate.
Respite care homes offer short periods of care for someone whose carer is on holiday or cannot care for them due to an emergency. Whilst the cost of respite care will vary depending on personal needs, the average cost in the UK is £700-800 a week, although prices can increase to £1,500 a week.
If you’re looking for temporary support, the best way to calculate the cost of care is via a financial assessment.
The table below shows the average weekly fees for older people and dementia (65+) from 1998/99 to 2019/20. The table also shows how these care home fees have grown over time:
|Year||Weekly Nursing Care Costs||Nursing Care Cost Growth||Weekly Residential Care Costs||Residential Care Cost Growth|
This data shows that nursing home costs have increased by £491 a week (114%), while residential care home costs have increased by £355 a week (112%).
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:
|Area||Residential care costs per week||Nursing care costs per week|
|East of England||£943||£1,205|
|North East England||£733||£892|
|North West England||£748||£1,055|
|South East England||£1,066||£1,339|
|South West England||£921||£1,196|
|Yorkshire & The Humber||£733||£1,019|
As is the case with numerous other things, London care tends to be more expensive than in most other parts of the country. The above table shows that the average cost of self-funded residential care per week in London is £1,031, whereas the average weekly cost for nursing care is £1,271.
On average, the weekly cost of a care home in Scotland is:
|Weekly Cost of Residential Care||Weekly Cost of Nursing Care|
In Scotland, everyone aged 65 or over - regardless of income and assets - receives free nursing and personal care (up to a certain limit) if they’ve been assessed by their local authority as needing it. They will then have to contribute towards care home accommodation costs.
From 1st April 2022, the personal and nursing payment rates are:
If your capital is below the lower limit (£18,500), the state will pay up to the following amounts:
While these are the maximum funding amounts, you may not be entitled to this much. The amount of funding you or your loved one receive will depend on the level of care needed and the fees charged by different care homes.
On average, the weekly cost of a care home in Wales is:
|Weekly Cost of Residential Care||Weekly Cost of Nursing Care|
Unlike other UK countries, Wales only has one threshold, rather than an upper and lower limit. This threshold is £50,000 (more on this later).
So, if you have less than £50,000 in capital and assets, you’ll likely be eligible for local authority funding. If you have over that amount, you’ll have to pay for care yourself.
When it comes to paying for care, you have several different options. Below, we’ve gone over these options, including self-funding and NHS-funded care.
If you have enough savings, you will be classed as a self-funder. When self funding, you'll be expected to fully fund your own care.
To arrange care as a self-funder, you can:
Your local authority or local 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.
To be eligible for local authority funding, the following assessments will need to be taken by the care seeker:
Care needs assessment – This will work out care needs and the level of support required from a care home. Every care seeker has the right to a free care needs assessment. If you qualify for care funding then it’s the local authority’s legal duty to provide the appropriate care services
Financial assessment – A local authority will also carry out a financial assessment to see whether you can pay for care yourself or if funding is needed
If you're eligible for funding assistance, the local council will calculate the total cost of care and then use a means assessment to work out how much will need to be contributed. This amount must be enough to pay the fees for at least one suitable care home.
The council will also let you know how much they’ll contribute to costs and will arrange a suitable residential or nursing home to meet your or your loved one's care needs.
Apply for a care needs assessment here.
There are two main types of NHS funding within care homes:
1. NHS Continuing Healthcare
If you've been assessed as having a ‘primary health need’ then NHS Continuing Healthcare provides a care package which is arranged and funded by the NHS. This package covers the full cost of care and residential accommodation.
This funding is available to adults in England who are living with intense, complex and unpredictable needs.
You must undergo an assessment by a team of healthcare professionals to determine if you’re eligible. This process can be complex. An organisation called Beacon gives free, independent advice on NHS Continuing Healthcare.
You can visit Beacon’s website or call their free helpline on 0345 548 0300.
2. NHS Funded Nursing Care
NHS-funded nursing care is provided by the NHS to cover the nursing or medical costs for those living in a care home or nursing home. This care is administered by a registered nurse.
You or your loved one may be eligible if:
The amount you or your loved one can get each week depends on whereabouts you live in the UK:
|Region||Rates of NHS-Funded Nursing Care|
|England||£187.60 a week at the standard rate and £258.08 at the higher rate|
|Scotland||£87.10 a week for nursing care and £193.50 a week for personal care - up to a total of £280.60 a week|
|Wales||£179.97 a week|
|Northern Ireland||£100 a week|
You should be assessed for NHS Continuing Healthcare before a decision is made as to whether you’re eligible for NHS Funded Nursing Care.
Here are the UK saving thresholds for care home fees in 2022/23:
|Country||Upper Threshold||Lower Threshold|
If you have an income, pension, benefits or savings, you may be able to afford care on your own. In England, if you have savings equal to or in excess of £23,250, you’ll qualify for self-funding, whereas this figure is £29,750 in Scotland, £50,000 in Wales and £23,250 in Northern Ireland.
Because there’s no lower limit in Wales, if your loved one’s savings and assets are worth less than the £50,000 upper capital limit, they’ll receive the maximum financial support from their local authority regardless.
In England, if you have £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 your own fees, but you will likely have to use most of your weekly income.
These thresholds are due to change in England in October 2023. Under the new system, only people with savings equal to or greater than £100,000 will qualify for self-funding.
If you’re worried about not having enough in your savings, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to decrease care 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.
We have a guide dedicated to Attendance Allowance pitfalls and mistakes to avoid when applying as well.
From October 2023, the Government will introduce a new £86,000 cap on the amount people in England will need to spend on their personal care. This cap aims to prevent people from having all their assets used up by care home costs.
When someone is above the savings threshold and self-funds their care, they won’t have to spend more than £86,000 on personal care across their lifetime.
The £86,000 cap covers residential care, nursing care and similar support. It also applies to domiciliary care. Beyond £86,000, the Government will now cover these care costs. However, this cap doesn’t include paying for accommodation, energy bills, food and other facilities within a care home. So, families or anybody else self-funding care will continue paying for these things past £86,000.
Put simply, the Government will cover any care-specific costs beyond £86,000, but not other costs such as accommodation and energy bills.
Currently, only people with assets (including property) under £23,250 qualify for full financial support from their local authority. Under this new system, the threshold will increase to £100,000 (so many more people will qualify for financial assistance).
For many people, if they aren’t eligible for local authority help (because their savings and assets are above the threshold), they’ll only have to cover the full cost of care until what they’ve paid goes over £86,000.
For example, if you were paying £2,000 a month for personal care in a care home, you’d hit the £86,000 cap within 43 months (or just under four years).
Most care homes are transparent about all their fees - including add-onds such as chiropody appointments. However, some providers may only choose to display the basic cost of a care home. That’s why it’s important to ask about any hidden fees when you visit a home. Some people may not become fully aware of all the costs until after they’ve signed their care home contract.
Hidden fees may include:
We and our care homes are as transparent as possible with which fees are and aren’t included. For example, each of our care home listings states whether or not bills are included.
Before you start paying, you’ll need to do a free care needs assessment. You can do one of these through the adult social services department of your local council or local authority.
A needs assessment is usually followed by a financial assessment which decides whether your local authority should help with paying for care fees. These assessments need to be arranged before you start looking for care homes, as this will ensure you receive any funding help you may be eligible for.
After the needs and financial assessment, you or your loved one will be advised whether you need care or not and what funding you’re eligible for (if any).
This depends on how much is in your savings and how you intend to pay for your care and fees.
When you apply for care, your means test will work out how much of your care you’re able to pay for and whether any financial assistance is needed.
You don’t have to sell your home if you’re receiving care and support at home or if you’re applying for short-term care. If you’re applying for permanent care, you won’t have to sell your house if it’s 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 it to help cover your care home fees. However, there are circumstances where the value of your house isn’t included in the financial means test, such as the Equity Release scheme.
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 that can 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 speak to a financial advisor before making any decisions.
Although avoiding care home fees is possible - such as through deprivation of assets or putting your house in a trust - it isn’t always something we’d recommend.
That said, not all care home prices and fees are set in stone. In fact, some providers will offer discounted rates. These discounts could include one or more weeks where your loved one isn’t required to pay for their care, or where their care is cheaper for a period of time, assuming certain other requirements are met.
We’ve teamed up with Hamberley Care Homes to bring you and your loved ones exclusive care home discounts on fees across permanent and respite care:
Permanent Care - 2 weeks free after 6 months of residence
Respite Care - £50 off per week if you book 3+ weeks of respite 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.
Live in Care is a preferable options for some people and their families.
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 we’re 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 how much care could potentially cost.
We’ll make sure that you find a great care home at an affordable price. Contact one of Lottie’s care experts today to start your care home journey.
Article and Figures Last Updated: December 2022
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