31 March 2014

How affordable is life in a care home?

One of the biggest issues elderly people and their families face when it comes to care homes is that of affordability. Research by analyst Laing Buisson has shown that the average annual cost of care home fees is £27,500 although this can be a lot more in London and the South East.

It’s important that you talk your situation through with people, whether that be friends, family members or professionals. They might have helped someone in a similar situation and could provide some invaluable advice. There are also a number of charities and organisations that are on hand to provide help and advice on how best to approach not just the financial side of things, but all other aspects of moving into a care home. With extracare.org.uk, for instance, they have specialist support workers on hand to assist with economic well-being, such as how to prioritise any debts.

There is ongoing discourse between care homes, local authorities and national government about the price of care, but is there anything you can you do to lessen the financial strain?

Are you a homeowner?
One of the most common ways finding money for care is for homeowners to sell their home. This is a very tough decision to make, but it’s one that should be considered. Obviously, if there is another person living in the house, then this option isn’t really viable, but if not then it’s an effective way of raising money. There’s also the option of renting the house out, which could be preferable if you intend to continue living there at a later date or want to keep the house for any other reason. The money coming in each month wouldn’t be as much if you rent out but is potentially a more secure source of money long term.

Do you have family members who can contribute?
You may feel awkward asking family members to contribute towards your care home fees, but there’s every chance they will do what they can to help. If you have a big family, then you may be able to ask several members of the family to pay a smaller amount rather than ask one person to make a significant contribution.

You may be entitled to financial support
In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for funding for yourself or loved one. Your local authority will require you to take a means test and will look at that to establish whether or not you’re eligible for support.

Take a look at the table which shows the savings threshold for local authority funding in the UK

England £23,250

Wales £22,000

Scotland £24,750

Northern Ireland £23,250

If your savings are above the quoted amount for the different parts of the UK, then you will have to pay for your own care. However, it may still be worth contacting your local authority as your needs can still be assessed and you may qualify in some other way for funding.

Additionally, if you have a disability or other complex medical needs, you may also qualify for NHS Continuing Care Funding. This care can be undertaken at home if that’s where you live, or if you live in a care home, then this may mean that at least some of the accommodation costs is covered by the funding. 

For more information about NHS continuing healthcare, click here. Turn2us may also be a useful resource, allowing you to search for grants, benefits and other funding you may be entitled to - click here to visit the their website.


  1. My mum is looking after my grandmother. Its hard but its meant she could keep her savings and have a comfortable retirement rather than give even more into a system she's paid into all her life.

  2. Very helpful post thanks, may soon need to find extra care for my father :(

    Natalie Gillham