The cost of care can be a worrying subject for you and your family. As you reach a point in your life where you need help at home or may consider moving into a care home, you must think about the financial implications.
Find out what care you need
If you think that you, or someone you may know, needs help on a day-to-day basis, the first step is to get a ‘needs assessment’.
This assessment is to ascertain how much support you need. You are asked questions regarding self-care and how you are managing everyday tasks. A needs assessment has to be done before the local authority can support in any way. They may recommend special equipment, access to carers at home, or moving into a care home. The assessment is done by the local council free of charge, either online or face to face. To book an assessment, you can visit the government website.
The cost of care
Depending on what you need, the cost can vary greatly.
– If you need a carer to come into your home, it costs around £20 per hour.
– If you need a live-in carer, then this can be £600-£700 per week.
Care home costs can vary considerably depending on where you live in the UK. Generally, the south east and London is more expensive than the north of England. On average, in the UK, you will pay £681 per week for residential care, and £979 per week for a nursing home.
Who pays for your care
Nearly half a million people in the UK live in a care home, with half of them funding it themselves and the other half having it partially or fully funded by the local authority.
If you live in England and have assets of more than £23,250, you will need to fully fund your care. In Scotland, the threshold is £28,750 and in Wales it is £50,000.
If you are under this threshold, the local authority will help fund your care, but you may need to contribute. “Which” has a calculator that will help assess whether you are eligible for assistance or not. You can find out more on their cost of care and eligibility checker.
Selling your home to pay for the cost of care
After you have had an assessment to see what care you need, the local authority will then do a financial assessment, also known as a means test. This test is to work out how much you will need to contribute towards your care.
– If you receive care at home or go into temporary care, your home will not be considered when they do the means test.
– If you go into a care home full time and your partner, children under 18 or another relative over 60 still live in the home, it also won’t be included.
When it’s just you living at your home it will be included and you may need to sell it to fund your care. If you do not want to sell your home there are also a few other options:
– Equity release plans
– Rent out the property
– Deferred payment: The local authority will take payment once the property is sold or take it out of your estate after you pass away.
– If your property is jointly owned (for example you own 50%) the local authority can only take your portion of the property into account. Contact us regarding further information on this.
Things to consider
When making decisions about care it is a good time to also think about setting up a power of attorney. This is so you can pick family or friends to make decisions regarding your welfare and finances if you do not have the mental capacity to make them yourself. If you want advice about setting up a power of attorney, contact one of our expert team today.
Asking or realising you need help should not be seen as negative. Having a carer or going into a care home can significantly improve your quality of life. You may have struggled for a long time, and not realised that you can be helped by other people qualified to do so.