Millions Underestimating The True Cost Of Care

WhichMillions of people in England seriously underestimate the cost of paying for a nursing home place, on average by £12,000 a year, leaving some at risk of suffering financial problems or struggling to access good quality care in later life, according to research from Which?

When people were asked 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 ten even underestimated the true cost by an enormous £737 a week, or £39,000 a year, running the risk of serious financial problems in later life, or a lower likelihood of receiving good-quality care.

Londoners had the most unrealistic expectations overall, underestimating the cost of a nursing home place by an average of £540 a week – the equivalent of £28,080 a year.

Average private fees paid to care homes in England 2017-2018

  • London: £1,275 (£66,300)
  • South East: £1,007 (£52,364)
  • East of England: £927 (£48,204)
  • South West: £892 (£46,384)
  • East Midlands: £795 (£41,340)
  • West Midlands: £791 (£41,132)
  • North West: £747 (£38,844)
  • Yorkshire & Humberside: £744 (£38,688)
  • North East: £714 per week (£37,128 per year)

(Source: Which?)

Which? managing director of public markets, Alex Hayman, said: “Many people are seriously underestimating the costs of care in later life, meaning they could struggle to find high-quality care for themselves or a loved one, or even face financial difficulties.

“The care system can be confusing and daunting and must often be navigated at a time of great stress for older people and their families. That’s why it’s vital that people have access to tools and resources to help them plan for the future.”

Responding to the research, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “This research is yet another example of the need to raise the awareness of social care and the cost of care with the public, which is why the LGA is calling on the Government to lead a national campaign to heighten the profile and reputation of adult social care.

“Our recent polling shows half of people have little or no understanding of what social care means. Only 15 per cent of people polled said they are making plans to pay for their care in later life, so it is no wonder people underestimate the cost.

“If we are to truly tackle adult social care, we must aspire to social care having a similar ‘national treasure’ status as the NHS, with similar levels of awareness and understanding about what social care is and why it matters.

“With low public awareness of social care and people’s preparedness for how to pay for it, 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.”

Which? has launched an online tool to help families get information about the likely cost of care in their local authority area in England.

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 ten even underestimated the true cost by a whopping £737 a week, or £39,000 a year, running the risk of serious financial problems in later life, or a lower likelihood of receiving good-quality care. We’ve launched a simple and free online cost of care and eligibility checker, to help you and your loved ones easily calculate the likely cost of care in your area, as well as eligibility for local-authority support and funding options. The cost of care homes in your area See the table below to find out how much money private nursing in a care home costs across the UK, compared with how much people thought it would be – and what this difference amounts to over a year. For a more accurate estimate of the cost of care in your local authority, use our online checker. Londoners have the most unrealistic expectations, underestimating the cost of a nursing-home place by an average of £540 a week – that’s £28,101 a year. People in the East Midlands were the nearest to reality, with a £74 shortfall compared with the real figure. This still amounts of an annual shortfall of £3,848. Which? Managing Director of Public Markets Alex Hayman said: ‘Many people are seriously underestimating the costs of care in later life, meaning they could struggle to find high-quality care for themselves or a loved one, or even face financial difficulties. ‘The care system can be confusing and daunting, and must often be navigated at a time of great stress for older people and their families. That’s why it’s vital that people have access to tools and resources to help them plan for the future.’

 

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