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The reality of paying for elderly care

When looking into care home costs or home assistance, the sums involved can be significant.

June 28, 2022

Carer with elderly lady

Whether you’re concerned about the prospect of paying for your own care as you get older or looking into the costs of elderly care for a relative or loved one, some of the figures involved can be daunting.

Our recent data analysis shows that UK homeowners could lose around 50% of the value of their property if paying for residential care for an average stay of four years. This can depend on the area of the country and could easily mount up to between £113k - £161k.

In this article, we look at various aspects of the cost of elderly care, including options such as residential care, in-home care, family members as carers and other alternatives that might potentially delay the need for costly high-level care.

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Average care home costs

There are many reasons why an elderly person may need to move into a care home. They may need someone around 24/7 to assist if they require a high level of care for medical conditions or need significant help with managing daily activities, such as washing, dressing, and moving around.

Those with advanced conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s might also require residential care to help ensure their safety.

Care home costs can vary, depending on the level of care required and the area of the UK in which you live, but our research has found that it will usually fall somewhere between £113k-£161k for an average stay of four years in residential care.

The cost of care home fees is currently self-funded by individuals if their total capital (i.e. their savings, investments, and property value) is worth more than £23,250. There is a sliding scale of funding support available for those with capital underneath this amount.

For many people, whether they receive any funding support or not, this can mean that their home is sold to pay for their care.

There are set to be changes to the way this system works and the various thresholds in 2023, but elderly people, or their relatives, will still be expected to contribute a significant sum to their care home costs.

Find out more about the cost of care for the elderly and how it varies in different parts of the UK.

The cost of care

 

Carer with elderly man

The cost of elderly care at home

If you or an elderly loved one don’t need residential care but do still need assistance at home with daily living tasks, there is also an associated cost.

Again, there is a sliding scale of funding support available from your local authority if your total capital is under the current threshold of £23,250, but this doesn’t take into account the property value if it isn’t residential care that is needed. Regular income is also means-tested for this type of funding support.

The cost of elderly care at home will depend on the level of support needed but is usually charged at an hourly rate by the provider. For example, if you or an older relative needed two home care visits per day, this could easily equate to a daily cost of at least £30-£60, depending on location.

Over the course of a year, this would add up to around £11,000-£22,000. Those with needs that require more home care assistance would need to pay more for a higher level of care to be provided.

 

The cost of family members as carers

It’s estimated that around 26% of UK adults are providing unpaid care to an older, disabled or ill relative or friend. It’s incredibly common for family members to provide care for their loved ones as they get older. This could be a spouse, an adult child or another relative.

Caring for an elderly loved one can be really challenging, especially when juggling between other life and work commitments, and there is an emotional cost that needs to be considered, even if there isn’t a financial cost. Carers UK found in a survey that six out of ten carers felt that their own physical health had worsened because of caring for their loved ones, and seven out of ten said their mental health had suffered. Carers need care too.

The video below tells Nicky’s story as she struggled to care for her ageing father, Ken, whilst trying to balance her family and work commitments.

 

Elderly alert devices to potentially reduce or delay care costs

If you or your loved one currently require a high level of care or daily living support, it might be that residential or in-home care is the best option.

However, if you are at the stage where you’re considering potential care options for the future, there might be some options that could help to reduce or delay some of the kinds of care costs that we’ve already mentioned.

Many older people want to stay in their own home for as long as possible, but concerns about safety when living independently can make this challenging for them and their loved ones.

When considering care home fees, especially with optional added expenses (often called ‘top-up fees’) for things like bigger rooms or extra services, the costs can quickly mount up.

Fully monitored personal alarms for the elderly are available for a small fraction of these costs, either with a monthly fee on or an annual plan and can be set up with no additional or hidden charges. In return, the older person and their family get the peace of mind brought by knowing that there is 24/7 support available in any kind of emergency.

Personal alarms are easy to use, with just a single push of a button needed for help to be at hand, which is why they are so reassuring for elderly people and their loved ones.

A personal alarm service can make a big difference to some people when it comes to living independently for longer.

Elderly lady with son

Depending on the system you choose, personal alarms cannot only raise an alert if something happens. Some of the technology can even be used to help prevent incidents from happening in the first place and there are various solutions that are suited to a range of different situations, all available for much less than the cost of in-person care.

For example, non-intrusive elderly monitoring devices that use artificial intelligence (AI), can be placed in the home of someone who is living independently but perhaps has regular visits from family or carers. The devices ‘learn’ the individual’s routines and what is ‘normal’, so can then raise an alert if something changes or if usual habits are not observed. In some cases, this can help to pre-empt problems before they develop and give the loved ones early warning that some additional support might be needed, as well as being there if there is an emergency.

On the other hand, if the older person is very active and spends lots of time outside of their home, GPS help buttons that send a location along with an alert if something happens can be a great solution. As they can be used anywhere in the UK, these GPS personal alarms are ideally suited to those who want full independence as they go about their day, but just a little extra reassurance that help is there if needed.

For someone who perhaps has a history of falls, or who is having some balance problems and would like some peace of mind, fall alarms are one solution that could provide just that. With the technology built-in that can detect when someone has a fall and automatically raise the alarm, this can bring real reassurance that help is ready and available if needed.

Falls are the main reason that older people attend A&E in the UK and can often be an event that leads to the development of additional care requirements. Any technology that can help reduce the risk of a fall can be beneficial and perhaps help a loved one to stay living in their own home and maintain independence for longer.

Cost of care comparison table

Find out more about personal alarms

If you want to discover more about our products and whether they are suitable for your situation, or to find the best personal alarm for your circumstances, our team would love to help you find the best option for your needs.

Call us free on 0800 085 7371

 

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure


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