This page was last updated on 1 November 2020.
Home Care Costs
If you are thinking about receiving care and support at home, then you may be worried about how much your home care is going to cost.
While it is true that the cost of home care is generally far less than the cost of residential care, home care can still amount to a considerable sum. Indeed, it is very common for the cost of in home care to run in excess of £13,000 per year.
This is also increasingly popular as it allows someone to stay in their home within familiar surroundings.
The purpose of this article is to help you to understand what home care costs are, the cost of home care packages in the UK, and what options you have when it comes to paying for care in the home.
This article will also answer some of the most commonly asked questions about homecare.
Topics that you will find covered on this page
What is the difference between home care and home help?
- Homecare is when a professional carer visits you in your home to help you with basic daily tasks such as:
- Getting out of bed
- Going to the bathroom
- Shopping for essentials
- Taking medication
- Leaving the house
If you are finding it difficult to cope with these tasks and you don’t want to go to a care home, then homecare may be a good option.
Home help, on the other hand, is when somebody visits you at home to help with general domestic tasks which don’t fall under the term ‘care’. This might include:
Many older people who need care and support choose to pay for both domestic help and care at home.
How do I arrange my care?
You have two options when it comes to organising your homecare:
- Ask your local council to arrange your care
- Organise your own care
Ask your local council for a needs assessment.
Your local council may be able to arrange your home care for you. If you would like your local council to help you arrange your care, you will need to contact them to ask for a care needs assessment.
The purpose of the care needs assessment is to help the council decide whether you are entitled to social care and, if so, the types of care that will have the greatest impact. You can find more information about the care assessment here.
If your local council decides that you need care at home, then they will offer to organise your care on your behalf.
Even if the council decides that you do not need social care, they are still obligated to provide you with free advice about how to access care services and to talk you through your care options.
Arrange your own homecare privately
You can choose to arrange your own homecare privately. If you do this, you can either use a home care agency or employ a carer.
If you choose to employ your own carer, then you will have the legal responsibilities of an employer. You will also be responsible for arranging cover in the event that your carer cannot work due to an illness or holiday. Therefore, it is usually easier to use a care agency.
Homecare agencies employ trained carers and arrange for them to visit you in your home so that you can receive the support that you need. These home visits can be arranged for as often as you require, though you should be aware that you will normally pay by the hour.
You may not always have the same carer for each visit, though the agency should make sure that you are matched with someone who understands your particular healthcare requirements and lifestyle.
Even if you plan to arrange your own care through an agency, it may be a good idea to get a needs assessment from the council so that you are able to describe your needs precisely to your care provider.
How much does in home care cost?
The exact cost of your homecare will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Whereabouts in the country you live
- Your personal care needs
- Your home care provider
Home help costs are even harder to predict as they will depend on an even wider range of factors. For example, if you require assistance looking after your garden, then the cost of this help will depend on the size of your garden, how much upkeep your garden requires, and so on.
If you are receiving home care, rather than living in a care home, then you may need to budget for home modifications such as a stairlift as well.
Below, there is some general information on how much a home care package costs on average. However, in order to get a more accurate estimate of how much you will likely be paying for care at home, you should use a care costs calculator.
How much does care at home cost per hour?
The average hourly cost of care at home is £18. This means that, if you require 14 hours of care per week (or 2 hours per day), then you can expect to be paying upwards of £13,000 per year.
However, there is considerable regional variation in-home care costs per hour (UK). The hourly cost of care can range from as little as £15 to as much as £30 depending on where you live and the types of care you require.
How much does it cost for a carer at home?
You may also need Live In Care if you are recovering from a stroke and you don’t have a spouse who can accommodate your needs.
On average, private carers for elderly people charge upwards of £800 per week or £40,000 a year for Live In Care. This means that the cost of Live In Care is very similar to the cost of care homes, once nursing costs have been included.
You should, therefore, think very carefully whether staying at home is the right choice for you, or if there are greater benefits to be had from moving into a nursing care home.
Some elderly people who do not need 24-hour care nevertheless feel that they are someone who would benefit from having a carer available during the night to make sure they do not suffer a fall and to provide help with going to the bathroom.
Most care services providing private care for the elderly at home offer this service, though the night time hourly rate is typically £5 more than the rate for daytime care.
Who pays for home care?
Getting help from the local council
Whether you are responsible for paying for your home elderly care costs is usually decided on the basis of your finances.
In order to see whether you are able to receive financial support from your local council, you must first ask for a needs assessment. If this assessment shows that you require social care, then your council will also carry out a financial assessment or ‘means test’.
The means test takes into account your savings, income, and the value of any other capital such as investments. The value of your property is only taken into account if you are choosing to move into a care home.
If the means test finds that the value of your assets falls below the threshold, then you will be eligible for some local authority funding to help you cover your care fees. However, it is unlikely that the council will offer to pay the entirety of your fees so you should be prepared to pay the rest of the money required.
If your local authority agrees to cover some of the cost of your care, then they will provide you with a care plan which clearly sets out your care needs, how your needs will be met, and your personal budget.
Ordinarily, the council will use the money allocated to you to pay the care service directly on your behalf.
However, you also have the option of receiving your personal budget in the form of monthly payments. This gives you the control to choose your care service directly and employ a personal carer if you wish.
If the means test finds that the value of your assets lies above the threshold, then you will need to cover your care fees yourself. This is known as self-funding.
It is important to know that if you are self-funding, you may still be eligible for some forms of financial support such as Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payments.
If you suffer from serious health issues or have recently been discharged from the hospital, you may be eligible for NHS funding. It is therefore always worth asking questions to your financial adviser, GP, or district nurse to find out what care funding may be available to you.
How can I pay for my care?
Even if you not eligible for financial support, you have a number of options when it comes to meeting the costs of care home fees or home care.
1 – Equity Release
One very popular way of paying care home costs or for home care is equity release. This is when you release some of the value of your property while being able to continue to live in it.
The most widely used equity release product is a lifetime mortgage. A lifetime mortgage is a loan secured against the value of your home.
Usually, if you have a lifetime mortgage, your property will be sold after your death in order to pay back the loan and any interest which has accrued. Taking out a lifetime mortgage might also affect your pension credit.
It’s therefore very important that you speak to an expert adviser in order to properly understand the benefits and risks of equity release products before you make any commitments.
2 – Care Annuities
A care annuity is a type of insurance policy that will provide you with a guaranteed regular income in exchange for a single lump-sum payment. This income can then be used to pay your care home fees or home care bills.
The amount of money that you will need to pay upfront will depend on a range of factors, including your life expectancy, the income you request, and the current annuity rates.
It is also worth knowing that one of the benefits of a care annuity is that the income you receive is tax-free if it is paid directly to the service responsible for your care.
3 – Savings
It is very common for older individuals to pay for some of their care using their savings account, pension, or a pension drawdown.
A drawdown is a way of using your pension to provide you with a regular retirement income by investing it in funds that are specifically designed for this purpose.
This is only an option for you if you have a pension in a drawdown product or which can easily be moved into a drawdown product.
4 – Money from Investments
It may be possible for you to cover some of your care fees by using the money you make through investments.
You should remember, however, that all investments carry some risk. You can reduce these risks by choosing to invest in low-risk government and corporate bonds or ETFs.
Make sure you speak to a financial adviser about the best way to maximise the impact of your investments while minimising the risk.
5 – Long-Term Care Insurance
It is becoming increasingly commonplace for insurers to offer long-term care insurance.
Long-term care insurance is especially well-suited to paying for homecare as the money provided by the insurer in a payout is typically enough to cover the cost of home visits from carers and nurses, but not the price of care homes.
You should also know that long-term care insurance often allows you to insure yourself against serious health conditions such as dementia and Parkinsons.
More information related to paying for care
Paying For Care
If you feel that you need extra support around the house, or that you need to move into a residential care home, then you may be worried about how you are going to pay for care. Unfortunately, social care is not cheap. While the exact cost of your care will depend on your personal care needs, care fees can easily run in excess of £100,000.
Care Home Costs
Most people are responsible for paying for the full cost of their social care. You will be considered responsible for paying for care home fees if the valuation of your personal assets exceeds the national threshold. The savings threshold is different in England and Northern Ireland than it is in Wales or Scotland. Therefore, the are costs can also differ.
Home Care Costs
If you are thinking about receiving care and support at home, then you may be worried about how much your home care is going to cost. While it is true that the cost of home care is generally far less than the cost of residential care, home care can still amount to a considerable sum. Indeed, it is very common for the cost of in home care to run in excess of £13,000 per year.
Avoiding Care Home Fees
It may come as surprising news to learn that many people are responsible for paying their full care home costs. A person is responsible for funding their own care if the valuation of their personal assets exceeds the national threshold.
Immediate Needs Care Annuity
An immediate care annuity is an option that can give you peace of mind. Essentially, it is an insurance policy that covers your care fees for the rest of your life by providing you with a guaranteed lifetime income.
NHS CHC stands for NHS continuing healthcare, with continuing meaning long term life care. Health and social care can be expensive, especially if you have no savings, income, or other finances.