We have an ageing population here in the UK, like in so many countries, which means a growing need for care in later life. Many more people are looking into care early to ensure they have the financial means in place to pay for the help they need.
There are a number of different types of professional elderly care available and the cost of the different types vary depending on individual needs and even on location. Currently in the UK:
- Over 400,000 people live in care homes
- Over 1 million people receive care in their own homes
- 5 million people get help with care from their friends and family
The cost of care then varies depending on where you live, the level of care you want, and the level of care you need. Information gathered by the BBC care calculator showed that a person might pay around £400 per week for a care home place in Barnsley in Yorkshire, but £1,000 a week for a care home in London.
On average the weekly fee is around £500 for a care home place across the UK but that doesn’t account for things like the type of care you need, the funds you already have, the type of care you would prefer. With all that to consider, it certainly isn’t easy to figure out whether or not your pension and savings are going to meet your care needs. However, there is information available that that will help you get a better idea:
What The Government Offers
The government knows there is no avoiding care home fees and so offers help with paying for care for people with assets that amount to less than £23,500. You can find out more about the means testing you will need to access this care in the Care Funding Guidance booklet from the Live In Care Hub. If you do have money above that amount then you may be entitled to help via the Attendance Allowance or Pension Credit. It is important to find out what help you are entitled to so you can access it and you are aware of when you are eligible should your funds run down in the future and you are no longer able to pay for care.
It is so important to access independent financial advice from a registered IFA if you intend to pay for care yourself. They should have experience in planning for care fees and you should feel comfortable talking to them about your concerns and worries. They can help you work out if your pension and savings are enough to pay for the type of care you need.
The Different Types Of Care
It is so important to look at all the different care options so that you have an idea of what you want. You may be restricted by budget but, you should try and ensure your care options make you happy as much as possible. Live-in care and residential care are the main two different types of care, but they come in lots of different forms and the type you are able to get will depend on what you are suitable for because of your needs. Read about all the different options, speak to your care provider and friends and look to gather as much information as you can. You might also want to use the UK Care Guide calculators for live-in care and residential care to get a rough idea of costs.
With planning for care the more you know the better. Seek advice from everyone and anyone you can, and start planning early. Elderly care is going to be a different stage of your life, and a wonderful one, but you do need to put the time in to make sure it is the right choice for you, that both meets your needs and makes the most of your hard earned pension and savings.