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Costs Involved in Living in Care Homes

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 14 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Costs Involved In Living In Care Homes

The cost of living in a residential care home can vary tremendously depending on a number of factors. Geographical location plays a part – for example, homes in London will usually cost more than in other areas of the country and other determining factors often include the level of care and supervision a particular home needs both with regard to the number of staff per patient ratio and whether or not additional specialist nursing care is needed around the clock. In broad terms, an average weekly cost to stay in a residential care home outside of London will usually be around £400 or thereabouts, rising to between about £600 and £1000 in the capital.

What do the Basic Costs Cover?

The cost of residential care will cover accommodation, all meals and drinks, laundry, utilities, and all of your furnishings such as beds, wardrobe, cupboard etc in addition to the cost of the care provided to you by nurses and/or other staff who work as ‘carers’. However, depending on the home itself, there may be additional costs to cover things such as day trips, dancing or swimming lessons or any other extra facilities the home provides.

What if I Cannot Afford to Pay?

Government legislation states that anybody who needs or chooses to stay in a care home should be assessed to work out how much they need to contribute towards the cost of their stay. At present, if you have £21,000 or over in capital, you are deemed to be able to meet the full cost of your residential care, although if you only have around £13,000 in assets, this is usually not taken into consideration. However, it’s important to note that these figures do not just consist of any savings you have.

On the contrary, the figure will be reached by establishing all of your income and assets. So, this could include interest on savings, other investments, private and state pensions and any property you might own. When it comes to property, however, it will not be taken into account should a close relative, such as a spouse, be living in it as well as yourself. If you haven’t got this amount of assets, then your local council will establish how much they will be able to contribute to your care costs on the basis of both a needs assessment and a financial assessment.

In certain instances, the NHS will fully cover the cost of your care but everybody needs to be assessed first. Sometimes, the amount of money the council is able to contribute might not be sufficient to cover the costs of the home you’ve chosen. In this instance, this will usually be because you have chosen a home whose fees are higher than the average. In this case, you’ll then have to decide whether you want to try to make up the remaining amount yourself or to let the council come up with an alternative care home that’s a little less expensive.

Keeping Your House

One of the biggest concerns when calculating your assets is determining whether you’ll need to contribute part or all of the costs of your residential care is the thought of being forced to sell your home. It is possible to set up a family trust whilst you’re still alive to transfer ownership of your home to somebody else but this needs to be discussed with a solicitor first as the law surrounding these kinds of issues can be very complex and it’s against the law to transfer your home into somebody else’s name for the sole purpose of avoiding care home fees so seek legal advice first. Your local council, NHS Trust or your local Social Services Department will be best placed to advise you.

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