Checking care providers
All UK personal care providers must register with their national care regulator. They must follow a strict code of conduct and have regular inspections of their service. Each UK regulator has a website where you can check individual care providers and see their latest inspection reports.
- England – Care Quality Commission (CQC)
- Wales – Care Inspectorate Wales
- Scotland – Care Inspectorate
- Northern Ireland – Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA)
Questions for care at home providers
- What background checks do your carers go through?
- Will I always have the same carer? What happens when they go on holiday or are sick?
- How will the carer get access to the house if I can’t let them in?
- What if I don't get on with my carer?
- What's the hourly cost and does this go up on weekends/bank holidays?
Questions for care homes
- Are there set visiting hours or can people stop by at any time?
- What happens if my care needs increase?
- Can I try the food before I decide?
- How did your most recent inspection go?
- How are you continually improving your residential environment?
In-home care costs
The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) calculated a minimum price for homecare of £23.20 per hour. It covers the UK Living Wage for careworkers, and includes their travel time, mileage and wage-related costs. The rate also includes a minimum payment towards running a care business at a financially sustainable level.
Care home costs
Care home fees can be significant, though they will vary depending on where you live and what your needs are. In many homes you might pay more than £1,000 per week, although the average weekly cost for a residential care home is approximately £650. This average increases to £900 where nursing care is required. Private payers may find that the average cost of a care home is higher.
If you have savings of less than £23,250 you may be able to get financial help from your local authority. They’ll assess your income and assets, looking at the value of any:
- Savings, including ISAs
- Stocks and shares
- Second homes or buy-to-let properties
- Investments with a ‘cash-in’ value
- Your property if you’re moving to a care home and the home isn’t occupied by a spouse/partner, or a relative who’s over 60 or disabled
If you do have more than £23,250 in assets, you’ll be considered a ‘self-funder’ and you’ll need to cover the full cost of your care.
If the NHS agrees you have a ‘primary health need’ Continuing Healthcare funding will meet your care costs. It covers long-term, complex health needs that demand more than basic personal care. It could pay care home fees or the cost of care in your own home.
Your eligibility isn’t based on you having a particular type of medical condition. It’s about whether a major part of your care is to support your health needs or prevent them from getting worse. Being frail, for example, isn’t enough on its own to qualify for Continuing Healthcare.
If you aren’t eligible for Continuing Healthcare but do need to live in a nursing home, the NHS will make a payment directly to help cover the cost of your nursing care. It’s called an NHS Funded Nursing Payment.
If you aren’t eligible for support from your local authority or the NHS, then you’ll probably need to meet the cost of your care yourself. But you may be entitled to Attendance Allowance. It’s a non means-tested benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions. It’s for those of retirement age who have care and support needs. Note that if you’re already receiving a disability benefit, you may not be able to claim Attendance Allowance.
You could also talk with a care fees specialist Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). They can discuss financial products that could help cover your care costs. To see if you might benefit from a conversation with an IFA, you can use our Care Costs Calculator, accessible below.
People sometimes think about giving away some of their savings, income or property to reduce the amount they’ll need to pay towards their care. But a local authority can refuse to pay for your care or ask you to repay care costs if they think you’ve done this.
To make sure you’re eligible for financial help, your local council will check you haven’t intentionally reduced your assets by looking at two things:
- Motive - When you gave away or moved your asset, was avoiding paying for care the reason, or a significant factor in your decision?
- Timing - At the time, were you fit and healthy, with no way to see a future need for care?
Examples of depriving yourself of assets might include selling an asset for less than it’s worth (your home, for example), giving money away as gifts or buying something expensive and unnecessary.
If the local authority feel you have deprived yourself of an asset they might treat you as though you still own it or may attempt to recover the assets from the person it was given to.
Deprivation of Assets is treated on a case by case basis by local authorities. The above are only examples of how a deprivation may be treated. If you want to discuss your own finances in greater detail, we’d suggest seeking specialist financial or legal advice
Using a Lifetime Mortgage to pay for your care
Lifetime mortgages is for homeowners aged 55 or over and is type of equity release, which is a loan secured against your home.
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