Care home fees vary by almost 50% across the UK, and are typically three times the average annual mortgage payment, reveals the first annual Saga Cost of Care Report. On average someone who requires care in a residential care home may expect to pay in the region of £25,000 per annum, a huge ongoing sum of money to find at any age, yet alone in their later years.
The analysis shows Northern Ireland is the cheapest region for residential and nursing care and the Northern Home Counties the most expensive for nursing care, with London the most expensive for residential care. Contrary to popular misconceptions, care is not free in Scotland and fees there are exposed as more expensive than Wales, Northern Ireland and North of England. Nursing homes were at their most expensive in the Northern Home Counties where on average the cost was £43,472 p.a.; Northern Ireland had the cheapest nursing homes with an average of £27,976. 93% of nursing homes in inner or outer London cost more than £31,200 p.a. Residential homes (providing accommodation but not nursing care) were at their most expensive in London where fees averaged £29,484 p.a. By contrast, Northern Ireland again provided the cheapest with an average cost of £20,904 p.a. Many Scottish residential care homes were found to charge between £23,400 and £25,948 p.a.
Alex Edmans of Saga explains, "After purchasing property, long-term care is likely to be the biggest expenditure in someone's lifetime. However, unlike buying a property, the cost of care is something particularly difficult to plan for, especially when people are faced with such enormous regional differences. The cost of care is not a subject people talk to their parents about and as such the whole subject of care is only broached when it is required, usually at a time of crisis, - never the best time to be making long term financial decisions. Long-term care planning can be a daunting prospect.”
Contrary to popular belief, care is not free in Scotland. In the United Kingdom care is generally broken down into three component parts; accommodation costs, personal care, and nursing care. However, unlike in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Scottish state pays for personal care and nursing care. If you need to stay in a care home in Scotland then the state will cover your personal care and your nursing care (currently £149 and £67 per week respectively). However you will still need to pay for your accommodation costs, which usually constitute the lion's share of the total cost. The Saga Cost of Care report also reveals that, in the last decade, care home fees have risen faster than general economy inflation.