Average Care Home Fees now £ 27,404
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Average Care Home Fees now £ 27,404






On the face of it, the new ideas for the future funding of care for the elderly risk creating a false sense of security amongst those approaching their twilight years. The headlines all screamed about the proposed £ 35,000 per head cap on care fees without mentioning too much about the fact that Andrew Dilnot’s recommendation was for the cap to apply to the total cost of care excluding the cost of accommodation which is, of course, the lion’s share of total care home fees.




This gradual realisation amongst those contemplating the possibility of having to go into a home comes just at the time that the cost of residential care is reported to be running at twice the rate of inflation. The research by Prestige Nursing revealed that the greatest percentage increase has been in Wales, which ironically already has a fee cap in place. The cost of the average care home in Wales is now just £46 below the national average, substantially less than last year’s £159 gap.




The report confirmed that the annual charge for a single room in a care home now weighs in at an average of £27,404 – far more than the average savings pot of £ 15,700 held by each of the over 55 age group - and more than twice the pensioners’ average income of £13,208.




This, of course, is an average figure for the whole country and it is worth noting that the South West and the East of England have now joined London in having an average annual cost of over £30,000. The South West has, in fact, leapfrogged ahead of the capital in being the most expensive destination. This is hardly surprising considering the more desirable milder temperatures down there compared with, say, the North East which has the lowest costs.




In every region of England the average cost of a care home place is considerably in excess of the typical pensioner’s annual income. This is the sort of annual gap that has to be made good by pensioners’ other resources such as savings.




The inescapable message seems to be that the £ 35,000 lifetime cap which David Cameron is talking about introducing after 2015 is likely to prove cold comfort for those expecting to pay for accommodation as well as care. The good news is that, even after this year’s increases in care home charges, the annual average is well below the general perception of fees being about £36,000 p.a. In fact, there are still plenty of homes that charge at least £10,000 less than this.






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