Cost awareness has increased, but over 50s are no more able to afford care than last year
Care home fees vary by almost 56 per cent across the UK
Five and a half million over 50s could fall into the long term care funding gap should they or their loved ones need assistance in the future, according to a study by Saga Care Funding Advice Service.
Although the Government helps to fund care for those assessed as needing it who have under £23,000 of assets, the study finds a quarter (26%) of over 50s do not qualify and say they have no other way of covering the cost, either because they do not own their own home or because they feel that the value of their home would not cover the cost of their care for the rest of their life.
On average the over 50s are getting better at estimating the cost of Long Term Care. In 2009 the over 50s estimated the average cost of residential care at £25,357. This is just £331 short of the actual average, whereas in 2008 people underestimated the cost by over £1,200.
Those aged 50 to 60 were the most accurate, but worryingly the over 75s who are likely to need care sooner, severely underestimated the cost by around a fifth - so the reality will come as a rude awakening.
The truth is that the average annual cost of staying in a residential care home is £25,688 and for a nursing home is £36,348. So on today’s costs a four year stay – assuming three in residential care and one in a nursing home - would cost in excess of £113,000.
With costs of well over £100,000, it is no wonder that 43% of people who do not qualify for state funded care, say they would not be able to afford care without selling their home.
The research also found that nursing home fees vary considerably by region – with differences of up to 56 per cent across the UK. People could save a small fortune by moving relatives to places like Northern Ireland with consistently lower fees, but the fact is that we want our loved ones close at hand. 93 per cent of people stated they would not move their family to another area in order to access lower cost care and in fact a fifth of people (21%) said they move relatives closer to them even if it meant more expensive care.
Andrew Goodsell, Executive Chairman, Saga Group Ltd commented: “Funding long-term care can be one of the biggest costs people face. With the right planning and advice this burden can be made more manageable and ensure a better quality of life in our later years.”
Saga Care Funding Advice Service has a free guide “Making sense of paying for care” which highlights how costs vary across the country and the funding options available. For a copy, please contact 0800 056 6101
Notes to editors
1 Research carried out by Populus on an online poll of 9,441 British adults aged 50+ during September 2009.
26% of 21,290,000 people aged over 50 = 5,535,400
2 Research carried out by Opinium Research for Saga Care Funding Advice Service between 17th and 21st July 2008 amongst a UK representative sample of 2,209 respondents.
3 Research commissioned by Saga and conducted by Laing & Buisson, the leading provider of market intelligence on the long-term care industry. Fees quoted are average fees in private and voluntary care homes and are based on occupancy of a single room.
4The lowest average nursing care home in Northern Ireland charges £554 per week, while the highest average in England is in the Northern Home Counties and costs £867 – a 56% difference.
* Current upper means test limit in England and Northern Ireland. The upper means test limits in Scotland and Wales are £22,500 and £22,000 respectively. The means test limit does not apply to people who qualify for either the NHS Continuing Health Care Scheme or under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act
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