It’s well known that care home costs can be high, but do people really know the full extent of what they might have to pay?
Our latest research indicates that more than half of the population seriously underestimate just how expensive care homes can be – on average, by the equivalent of £12,000 per year.
When we asked people to estimate the cost of a private nursing home place in their region, 55% came up with a figure that fell short of the average cost.
One in 10 even underestimated the true cost by a whopping £737 per week, or £39,000 per year, running the risk of serious financial problems in later life, or a lower likelihood of receiving good quality care.
Would you know how much a nursing home is likely to cost in your area?
Our research showed that Londoners have the most unrealistic expectations, underestimating the cost of a nursing home place by an average of £540 a week: £28,101 a year.
People in the East Midlands were the nearest to reality with a £74 shortfall of the real figure. This still amounts of an annual shortfall of £3,848.
We’ve launched a simple and free online cost of care and eligibility tool on the Later Life Care website (formerly Which? Elderly Care) to help you and your loved ones easily calculate the likely cost of care in your local authority as well as eligibility for local authority support and funding options.
What if I run out of money?
We know that a lot of people worry about what will happen if they run out of money while living in a care home.
With this in mind we’ve built a calculator that sits in the same tool that will tell you how long your savings and assets are likely to last.
We know from your response to Joanna Pearl’s Conversation in August that you think care homes should provide clearer information about costs to help you make a choice.
Our cost of care tool
We had set out to build our cost of care tool to cover the whole of the UK, but quickly came up against a barrier – getting hold of the average fees that care homes charge self-funders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland just isn’t available. Reluctantly, then, we’ve had to build the tool to cover England only.
We know this is unfair and are supporting the CMA to encourage care homes to be more transparent about how much they charge people so that everyone can make a more informed choice.
What other information would you like to see made available by care homes to help make such an important decision? How are you planning to pay for care costs should they arise? Have you run out of money to fund your care?