Care costs spiralling

Sarah Davidson

September 6, 2012

Research from Prestige Nursing+Care has revealed compared with last year the annual cost of a single room in a residential care home has risen by £1,451 and now costs £27,404 on average.

This is more than twice average pensioner income of £13,208. The recently announced cap on care fees would not cover accommodation costs so many older people would still be liable for large fees and would see their savings dwindle.

The cost of a shared room increased at the slower rate of 3.7% this year and cost an average of £26,137.

In the past year, three regions have broken the £30,000 barrier – London, the South West and the East of England, compared with only London last year. The South East fell marginally short of this mark, with an average cost of £29,849.

The South West overtook London to become the most expensive region for elderly care homes this year. A room there costs £6,292 more per year than in the North East which has the lowest prices. The South West also has the largest disparity between care home costs and average pensioner income at £18,200. This is £5000 per year higher than the national average.

Wales, which already has a fee cap saw the greatest proportional increase.

The cost of the average care home in Wales now falls just £46 below than the national average, substantially closer than the £159 difference of 2011. Despite this increase in price, Wales has retained relatively low costs, with only the North East more affordable.

Home care is another alternative for older people to consider – with 10 hours a week costing an average of £7,576 annually – it is roughly 3.5 times cheaper than national average cost of a single care home room.

Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing + Care, said: “The government has announced a cap on care fees of £35,000 which most of us in the industry have been lobbying for for some time.

“However accommodation costs, which make up the lion’s share of residential care fees wouldn’t be included in this cap meaning older people are still heavily liable and may need to pay significant amounts of money in later life.

“For those who are slightly younger, factoring in possible care fees into their savings is a good idea. For older people who may need care in the shorter term, homecare is an option which allows people to maintain their independence for longer while living in their own home and is included in the cap. However, for those who require residential care immediately, they will unfortunately have to grin and bear these costs.”

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