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Susannah Millen

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Underestimating the cost of care

Paying for residential care in a care home is expensive and of course, fees vary depending on the area, the individual care home and the individual’s financial circumstances.

However, according to a survey carried out by consumer watchdog Which?, millions of people in England are underestimating the cost of a nursing home place, leaving some at risk of suffering financial problems or struggling to access good quality care in later life. One in 10 people miscalculate the true cost of paying for a care home by £757 per week – the equivalent of £39,000 a year. A quarter of respondents suggested a figure that was £507 per week too low, the equivalent of £26,000 a year, according to the study. However, around one in 10 older people with care needs now faces care bills of more than £100,000, according to a report published earlier this year from the think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research .

A quarter of respondents suggested a figure that was £507 per week too low, the equivalent of £26,000 a year, according to the study


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Of more than 2000 adults nationwide who participated in the survey, respondents in London had the most unrealistic expectations when it came to care home bills, underestimating costs by an average of £540 a week, the equivalent of £28,080 per year.

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People in the East Midlands came closest to giving an accurate figure overall, estimating the cost at £721 a week. This is just £74 short of the real figure, but is still the equivalent of a shortfall of £3848 per year. Londoners paid the most on average on fees to private nursing homes in 2017/18, with the figure totalling £1275 per week. At the other end of the spectrum, those in the North East paid £714 per week on average. Which? has not published comparable figures for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. More than 400,000 people in the UK live in residential and nursing care homes. Almost half of those individuals pay for care themselves, while the remainder rely on their local authority or the NHS to cover the costs either partially or fully.

Responding to the research, Councillor Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, says: “This research is yet another example of the need to raise the awareness of social care and the cost of care. “It is more important than ever that the Government get on and publish their green paper, start a massive campaign to raise awareness of what social care is and don’t duck the big issues on funding. We need bold solutions and we need them now.”

Susannah Millen • Editor

November 2018 •

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