The cost of live-in care and how to pay for it
- There are a range of different costs associated with different types of care, which may not be immediately obvious.
- Many people think the cost of live-in care is beyond their reach, however this is not necessarily the case.
- There are various funding options to consider when paying for live-in care.
When people research care options for the first time, one of the most shocking things to come to terms with is the amount it costs. Whether you opt for live-in care, or a care home, fees can feel insurmountable.
You may think that the cost of live-in home care is beyond the reach of most people, but this is not necessarily the case.
While private live-in care costs can vary considerably between different areas of the country, and there are differences between the fees from one private care provider to another, full-time care at home can be a very cost-effective option for many people.
In most parts of the country, the cost is similar to that of a care home – and this is naturally the option that most people will compare live-in care against. So let’s run through care home costs in a bit more detail first.
What is the average cost of a care home in the UK?
The cost of a care home bed can be similar to the cost of having a live-in carer, but the service provided is very different. Living in a community with other people who also need support means that there will inevitably be some waiting for staff to attend to your loved one’s needs.
In a care home the ratio of care is 1:8 rather than 1:1 due to the responsibilities carers have to other residents.
When people have lived in their own home for many years, it can be very upsetting for them to give their independence up. One advantage of residential care is that there is no need for the person to worry about utility bills and food preparation, but many people find it difficult to settle in one small room after being used to their own house.
There isn’t an average cost of a care home, as such. Care home costs can vary depending on a number of factors, such as facilities and location. As a general guide a care home can range between £600-£1500 per week.
Concerns have been raised regarding the hidden costs associated with care homes – such as extra fees for things such as carer assistance or chiropody. Not only are there potential hidden costs but care homes have come under fire for giving short notice periods on fee increases and failing to pass on savings from when residents are away for longer periods of time – according to this Citizens Advice report.
Extra care home costs to check for:
- Trips to a hospital
- Hairdressing services
- Phone access
- Days out
What are the live-in care costs?
Reputable live-in care companies, such as Elder, will be transparent about their fees and what these cover. Costs depend on the specific needs and preferences of your loved one, so these need to be clearly understood.
Some older people may require specialist care, such as Alzheimer’s care, or care for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis. A live-in carer may need special training or extensive experience for some positions and each case is different. Elder do not charge extra for dementia care but do offer a different pricing structure should an additional carer be required to provide 24-hour care.
Included in the cost of live-in care from a professional caregiver is the work that goes into ensuring a good match between the personalities, interests and background of the care recipient and carer. This is crucial, as finding the right person to care for your loved one can improve their quality of life immeasurably.
Standard costs associated with live-in care
At Elder, the standard weekly fee for live-in care starts at £1225. This fee increases depending on the specific needs of the care receiver – for example, if they have complex medical needs or specific personal care needs. Additionally, if there is more than one care receiver, the fee would increase depending on the care needs.
Elder pricing tiers
All tiers include light housework and house maintenance such as doing laundry, dusting, keeping a tidy home and changing the bins.
|Tier||Covers||Number of care receivers||Number of carers|
|Tier 1 – Live-in assistance||– Basic personal care |
– Night time care needs (up to 2 times per night)
– 2 hour breaks taken as needed in the day
Additionally, up to 2 of:
– More extensive personal care
– Hoisting that requires 1 carer
– Some challenging behaviour
– Breaks can only be taken in less than 30 minute intervals
1 or 2
|Tier 2 – Specialist Live-in Assistance||Covers up to 3 of:|
– Extensive personal care
– Hoisting that requires one carer
– Some challenging behaviour
– Night-time care needs 3-4 times a night
– Breaks can only be taken in less than 30-minute intervals
This tier also covers night-time care only.
|Tier 3 – Advanced Live-in assistance||Always requires two carers.|
Includes and goes beyond needs of Tier 2.
Extensive needs to include at least 2 of:
– Night-time care more than 4 times per night
– Breaks can’t be taken
– Highly challenging behaviour
– Hoisting that requires two carers
For live-in carers who have a driving licence, there’s an additional cost of £50 per week in order to cover petrol, tax and insurance.
For many families, this extra cost is one which is incredibly worthwhile as it allows the care recipient the ability to do things they enjoy without the hassle of public transport, such as going on days out and visiting loved ones.
If your loved one and their carer are using public transport, it’s likely they’ll have a bus pass for shorter journeys. You should consider providing the carer with a travel allowance if this is going to be frequent.
For journeys by train, your relative and their carer will get a third off if your loved one has a Disabled Railcard. If this isn’t possible, take a look at a Senior Railcard, or Two Together Railcard.
Food and activity allowances
When it comes to food, you should budget around £30 per week for the carer, on top of your loved one’s budget.
Have a think about what your loved one likes to eat in an average week. Whether it’s fish and chips on a Friday or a roast dinner on a Sunday, it’s important they have their favourites. Even though it may seem like a small thing, having that choice over what you eat can be a really important part of your routine in later life.
You should also consider costs for things such as prescriptions, days out and activities. Ensuring this money is in place is a small price to pay when you consider it provides the care recipient with the freedom and opportunity to lead a fulfilling life.
We’d recommend you provide your carer with a prepaid card, such as Monzo. This helps you to manage allowances and budgets effectively while bringing transparency over what they’re spending.
When it comes to paying for care with Elder, you’ll pay weekly – after care has been received. The payment can either be made via bank transfer or credit or debit care. Plus, you’re able to leave Elder by providing two weeks’ notice.
Different funding opportunities
For many, live-in care may seem like an expensive option but for the quality of care and level of independence offered it is worth the cost. Additionally, there are a range of funding options available for those considering arranging live-in care.
Local authority assistance
You can request the social services department of your loved one’s local authority to carry out a needs assessment. If they are assessed as needing care, you could apply for financial help from the local authority.
This would involve a means test that would look at your loved one’s income, savings and other assets, to assess whether they would be eligible for any help towards care costs.
If your loved one is eligible for financial assistance, this will probably be in the form of a personal budget that can be used towards whatever home care services they need, including private live-in care. Sometimes this process can be overwhelming, so your loved one may need your assistance with making financial decisions.
If your loved one has substantial savings, these could be used to fund their care. If their savings are below a certain level, they might be eligible for financial assistance from their local authority.
Although moving home can be a stressful experience, especially if your loved one needs professional dementia care, moving to a smaller property can sometimes release funds that could be used to pay for care.
This option can also reduce property maintenance costs and can be a good solution to allow some people to continue their independent living, rather than moving into a care home.
If your loved one owns their own property, an equity release scheme could provide a tax-free lump sum or allow them to draw down smaller amounts as and when they are needed. In this structure, they would retain the right to live in the property until they die or move into permanent residential care. When the house is sold, the money is repaid.
A lifetime mortgage
In this option, the owner of the property is loaned money against its value. This may be either in the form of a lump sum or smaller amounts when they are needed. The amount that can be released is usually higher for older people, and will also depend on the value of the property.
The money only becomes repayable when the property is sold, however long that is. Interest is added to the amount of the loan on a regular basis so the amount owed can be increased quite considerably over the years.
A home reversion plan
A home reversion plan involves selling part or all of the property to a home reversion company. It is another way of getting a tax-free lump sum to pay for private care.
The money does not all have to be taken at once; a proportion of the home can be sold initially, and further percentages sold as more cash is required. When the property is sold, the home reversion company receives their proportion of the sale proceeds. With this option, your loved one would retain the right to live in their home for the rest of their life.
Respite care costs
If you’re caring for your loved one on a full-time basis, you’re entitled to respite care to alleviate you from your caring role for a set amount of time. There are a few options for respite care ranging from hourly home care, a day or night in a care home or live-in care.
All these options come with their own costs associated with them and will differ based on the location and quality of care.
Frequently asked questions
Live-in care is the new standard in elderly care, allowing people to stay independent and in their own home for longer.
A live-in care agency, such as Elder, is able to match care recipients with live-in carers. Elder provide an introductory live-in care service in which trained, specialist live-in carers are matched, based on their skills and personality with a care receiver.
The standard fee for Elder live-in care is £1225 per week. This fee increases based on factors such as care needs, medical needs and number of care receivers.
In addition to this fee, there are other costs associated with live-in care such as food allowances and general day to day budgets for activities and groceries.
24-hour home care differs from standard live-in care in that 2 or more caregivers are required to meet the care needs. In this instance, the price for live-in care will increase. The standard cost for 24-hour care at home starts at £1,450 per week and again can increase depending on factors such as care and medical needs.
There are various funding pathways available for live-in care. Some people may choose to pay privately – through savings, income or equity release. Whereas others may be entitled to local authority funding.
There are also a number of benefits which the elderly may be entitled for. Claiming these benefits can help to fund live-in care.
Paying for care
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