Research reveals the increasing cost of UK care homes, as it’s revealed that the average cost of care homes in the UK sits at £1,036 per week – 408% higher than the average state pension, which stands at £203.85 per week.
In light of this, mobility equipment supplier Oak Tree Mobility has investigated the growing cost of care homes across the UK in 2023 and what support, if any, is available for those in need.
Care home costs – does it add up?
According to the research, the average cost for a care home is £1,036 per week, or £53,832 per year. However, this average masks the stark differences across regions and care types. In the UK, Scotland is currently the most expensive country for care home costs, averaging £1,286 per week and £66,863 per year. In contrast, while Northern Ireland is the most affordable, with an average cost of £792 per week and £41,184 per year, it is still way above what is deemed affordable.
When comparing the average weekly care home cost of £1,036 against the average UK pensioner income – about £12,500 a year for a single pensioner and £26,900 for a couple – the average pensioner is short over £41,332 per year. This amount would only cover approximately ten weeks of care home fees. This stark difference highlights the financial challenge many individuals face when considering care home services in their retirement planning.
Most expensive country for care homes
Scotland is the most expensive country in the UK for care home costs, with an average of £1,286 per week. Edinburgh, as the capital city, sees the highest costs within Scotland, averaging £2,200.00 per week, reflecting the premium for care home services in urban and affluent areas.
The most affordable country for care homes in the UK is Northern Ireland, with an average cost of £791.98 per week. County Down, despite being the most expensive within Northern Ireland, offers the cheapest care home in this area at £623.00 per week.
Most expensive regions for care homes
As Scotland sees the highest costs overall, the most expensive UK regions mirror this trend. The most expensive UK region is Edinburgh, with an average cost of £1,739 per week or £90,423 per year. This is followed by Midlothian at £1,632 per week and East Lothian at £1,529 per week. Five out of ten of the most expensive regions are in Scotland.
Cheapest regions for care homes
While Northern Ireland is the cheapest country for care homes, the cheapest overall region was Torfaen in Wales, costing £621 per week or £32,305 per year. Eight of the cheapest locations for care homes can be found in Wales.
Here’s how the means test for social care will look at your capital and how this will affect how much you pay for your care.
- Over £23,250: You must pay full fees (known as self-funding).
- Between £14,250 and £23,250: You contribute from income included in the means test, such as pensions, plus an assumed or “tariff” income based on your capital between £14,250 and £23,250: The council will pay the remaining cost of your care.
- Less than £14,250: You no longer pay a ‘tariff’ income based on your capital, but you must continue paying from income included in the means test. The council will pay the remaining cost of your care.
Verity Kick, marketing director at Oak Tree Mobility, explained: “Amid the rising costs of care homes in the UK, retirees and their families need to understand the support available to them. With weekly fees averaging over £1,100, many fear the financial strain of long-term care. However, the government has recognised this challenge and is implementing reforms to alleviate the burden. From October 2023, an £86,000 cap on personal care costs will protect retirees from unlimited expenses.
“Additionally, more generous asset thresholds mean that individuals with assets under £100,000 will receive financial assistance from their local authority, ensuring that care is more accessible for all. It’s important to engage with local social services to navigate these options, as support can significantly reduce the impact of care home fees on retirement savings.”