Each year, the search for care homes in the UK rises due to an increase in life expectancy, however, this is accompanied by higher care costs. Because the average care home fees are increasing, many families are experiencing uncertainty about whether a care home is an affordable option for them.
In this blog, we discuss the average cost of care depending on whether you reside in a nursing home, residential care home or all-inclusive care home, what is included in the care home fees and the available options for financial assistance.
Care homes and nursing homes structure their fees differently from each other for many reasons. One main factor is the level of care required. In a nursing home, the fees are typically more expensive compared to a residential care home as the nature of a person's needs is more advanced. As well as this, the different activities and facilities offered at the home and any additional services can cause costs to be higher. Many care homes will offer a fixed weekly fee, and others will take on a pay-as-you-go approach.
As part of the standard care home fees, you should expect to receive basic care and living services such as personal care, accommodation and dining. Additional extras offered by the home such as medical services, activities and hair appointments will likely incur an additional fee.
The UK Care Guide states that the average care fees range from £27,000 to £39,000 if you are living in a residential care home. This is the most basic type of care, which is why you should expect it to be priced lower than any other type. For nursing homes or nursing care, the costs increase to between £35,000 and £55,000 per year due to the more complex care needs of an individual.
There are multiple factors that contribute to the average weekly cost of care including location, care services and facilities. Care homes located in Southern England such as London are expected to be more expensive than those in northern areas. It is important to take these factors into consideration before making a final decision.
Residential care is best suited to those who can live independently the majority of the time but may require some support with their daily tasks such as bathing, dressing or mobility. Residing in a residential care home setting also offers older people a slower pace of life and zero household responsibilities. As part of the weekly care costs, individuals receiving residential care should expect to receive accommodation, meals and personal care services as part of their care package.
Nursing care is one of the most expensive types of care as individuals require 24/7 personal care and medical care. If somebody is unable to live in their own home due to the high levels of daily support required, a nursing home would be the most appropriate option for them. Nursing care fees are usually charged per week.
This differs from residential care as those receiving nursing care will need 24/7 care and monitoring which therefore increases the care home costs. All care, accommodation and dining options are included when paying for care in a nursing home.
Respite care is most commonly provided to people on a short-term basis, offering additional support for individuals following a hospital stay, while someone recovers from an illness or to offer caregivers a well-deserved break.
Respite care supports residents on a short-term basis and a person will normally pay for their care in a weekly structure. A care home will need to assess the individual to make sure they are able to properly support them before admission and the respite care costs can vary depending on a person’s specific needs.
This care type is provided to individuals living with dementia. There are currently just under 1 million people living with dementia in the UK, and this amount is expected to rise in the next few years. It's evident that dementia care is a highly dependant care type for those with more complex needs and it costs more than residential care, especially nursing dementia care. The care staff are specially trained to deal with the stages and symptoms associated with dementia in order to provide residents with an environment where they feel safe and comfortable.
Some individuals with dementia may start off receiving respite care, which provides their caregivers with a well-deserved break but over time, they would transfer to full-time dementia care. Whilst the weekly cost of care for those receiving respite is higher per week, the overall costs of receiving full-time care will equate to higher fees over time.
Care homes can differ based on the range of care services they provide and the individual's care needs. Generally, care home fees will include the bare necessities such as daily meals, lodging, and personal care.
However, it's important to note that care homes will structure their own fees differently from other care homes. Some may offer an all-inclusive way of living where all the costs and services are included, while others may charge extra for any additional services. Therefore, we would suggest contacting the home manager to find out the most accurate information and making comparisons with other care homes before making a decision.
A lot of individuals also get in touch with their local authority and receive a financial assessment to find out which type of care is most appropriate for them and what their options are.
In recent years, all-inclusive care homes have gained significant popularity among older individuals. These homes offer people the choice to pay for care, amenities, and additional services for a single, weekly fee. While you can expect an all-inclusive care home to be more expensive compared to traditional care home fees, prospective residents often find this approach appealing. Residents can reap the benefits of all the services and facilities available, ultimately enhancing their overall quality of life and providing them with peace of mind.
Given the current challenges of the rising cost of living in the UK, transitioning to an all-inclusive care home can be beneficial for older individuals. It ensures they receive their accommodation, care, 24-hour support, meals and access to amenities without the concern associated with escalating food prices and energy bills, which often burden those living in their own homes.
When searching for an all-inclusive care home, you'll need to find one that can meet an individual's specific care and well-being needs. For example, if your loved one has advanced dementia, you'll need to ensure that the care home can cater to their high-level needs, as some care homes may only provide care for those with lower-level dementia.
Care home fees are usually paid by the person who requires care which is otherwise known as self-funding. However, not everyone is in a position to pay for care themselves. People that cannot cover their care costs can seek financial help from either their local authority which will asses if they are eligible through a means test. Qualifying for financial support is dependent on certain circumstances, so a financial assessment takes place to assess a person's income and assets.
Whether funding can be offered or not is dependent on whether their total pensions, savings and assets and specific needs are under the upper capital limit set by the local council. The most common option for financial help is to apply for local council funding. Local council support ensures that an individual can avoid paying for care that they can't afford.
If an individual has primary health needs, they could be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare. To qualify for NHS-funded nursing care, a person will need to have complex mental and/or physical needs where their nature is unpredictable, complex or severe. This will be determined through care needs assessment carried out by a multidisciplinary team (MDT). This assessment is not means tested meaning it does not take into account the income of the individual or their family members.
If you do not qualify for either the local authority or NHS funding, there is the option to apply for a deferred payment agreement. This is when the local authority pay your care home fees then once the individual's assets are sold, the money is paid back to the local authority. It's important to understand that interest is often added to the cost of a deferred payment agreement.
Financial help isn't always guaranteed for an individual and some care homes may not accept funding support. Before deciding to reside in a care home, it is important to ask the care home management if they accept funding.
Local authority funding refers to a situation when someone cannot independently afford the fees for a care home or nursing home, and instead, the local council pays the care costs. To find out if you could be eligible, the local council carries out a means test which is a financial evaluation of any assets and income.
If the means test deems someone eligible, the local authority will cover the fundamental care expenses and each individual will receive a personal budget.
When you're receiving local authority-funded care, it's essential to understand that they will cover care fees for the basics such as accommodation, meals, and care. Any extra services or amenities, like transportation or social activities, are the individual's responsibility to cover.
It is essential to note that sometimes the local authority might not cover the entire care costs for someone's care home fees if the care home chosen costs more than the individual's personal budget. A top-up fee would then need to be provided by the resident or a family member.
If you are living with a severe disability or long-term illness, you may be entitled to NHS-funded nursing care. NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) steps in to cover the cost of your care whilst you are residing in a nursing home as well as the fees of other healthcare-related needs.
A team of healthcare professionals will carry out a needs assessment that decides whether a person meets the criteria for NHS Continuing Healthcare. This evaluation takes into consideration a person's individual circumstances and requirements to find out what level of support they need. To qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare, a person needs to have a high level of dependency due to a severe disability, long-term illness, or health condition.
If you are a self-funder, this means that the cost of your care will be covered by yourself or an immediate family member. Individuals will pay their own care fees by using their assets and savings, without being put out of pocket. It is important to note that if you are a self-funder, you are entirely responsible for paying for care costs and you won't receive any financial help from the local authorities.
Before deciding if this is the preferred payment option, it is advised to get in touch with a financial advisor who can carry out a means test to determine if you are able to pay your own care costs. Not all care home costs are structured the same way, so it is also important to speak with the care home manager and find out what they allow when it comes to paying for care costs.
Starting in October 2025, the UK government has announced its plans to implement a care home fee cap and increase the upper capital limit. This cap will be fixed at £86,000 which will be the maximum amount for paying fees in a person's lifetime. By introducing this cap, the government is attempting to preserve more of a person's savings and assets of the individuals paying for care. The cap will cover personal care costs and services such as washing, feeding, dressing and managing health problems, but will not cover daily living expenses such as accommodation, meals or additional services.
The main aim of introducing this cap is to provide reassurance for those who require long-term care and their families. This means that individuals will have a higher personal expenses allowance without having to spend it all on care home fees once the cap limit is reached. Any activities, excursions, transportation or salon services are not included as part of the 2025 care home cap. It is also important to note that this doesn't include those residing in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, only England.
At The Ashton Care Home, we are proud to provide unrivalled levels of respite care, residential care, nursing care, dementia care and palliative care in the pleasant market town of Hinckley, Leicestershire. Our dedicated and specialist care team supports residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with any personal care needs as well as with their hobbies and interests.
Residents have access to our expansive range of facilities and amenities, carefully selected which enable them to live an independent and enriching life on a daily basis. There is something for everyone here, whether they want to utilise our activities programme & entertainment, library, hair salon or cinema room.
In order to continue offering our first-class way of living, we adopt a person-centred approach to care. Before a resident moves in with us, we carry out a needs assessment that outlines their medical and personal needs as well as any requirements and preferences. This can be developed over time if their needs change to ensure a worry-free stay from the moment they move in.
If you have any further questions regarding care home costs or any of our facilities and care types, get in touch with a member of our team by calling 01455 233350 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.