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Care home costs rise by 9.3 per cent in just two years

6th September 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

According to a new study by care agency Prestige Nursing, care home bills have risen in recent years to reach very high levels. Although these costs have increased, the fees that local councils pay to care homes on behalf of those who are unable to fund their own care have not gone up accordingly in the majority of areas across the UK.

These distinct changes to the cost of living in a residential care home are likely to encourage more elderly people to consider instead adapting their current home with aids such as home stairlifts and ramps, choosing to pay for the cost of regular visits at home from healthcare professionals.

According to the study, as reported in this article by John Bingham from The Telegraph, care home bills have now risen by over 9% in the last two years, with the average annual bill now standing at £28,367. This figure is more than double the income of an average pensioner and equates to a £963 rise within the last year, which is just above the rate of inflation. When added to the previous year's care home bill increase, those who have been living in a care home for the last two years have seen their bills rise by £2,414 overall.

Although local councils pay towards the cost of care in some cases, those with assets that are worth over £23,500 are awarded no financial help towards care home bills from the government. Another study has shown that these people face significantly greater financial pressure; those who pay the bill for their own care are charged approximately £12,000 a year more than a local council would pay for a similar place. According to Care Home Operators, they "have no choice other than to charge a higher rate for self-funders" as councils have been "squeezing the rates they pay".

These figures present a worrying picture of the future of care in later life and Michelle Mitchell, director general of Age UK, has warned that "many older people will simply decide that they cannot afford care support and will struggle on alone with the possibility of a disastrous result".

Considering these costly increases and a lack of financial aid from the state, more people are sure to avoid going into a care home and instead invest in mobility aids such as accessible baths and handrails at home as an affordable care option that allows older people to maintain their independence in their own property. The one-off cost of a mobility aid that lasts a number of years could present a better value-for-money investment than the rising fees of residential care for many people across the UK.

Image Credit: BromfordGroup (flickr.com)