Care home fees can be as much as £800 per week, but the cost of a care home can vary greatly depending on where you live. For example, care in the South East costs more than care in the North West. It is also affected by the facilities that the home offers and by the level of care you need. Nursing and dementia care can add 20 – 25% to the cost. Different care homes offer different types of care. The type of care you need is determined by an assessment by the local authority Adult Social Services department. Once they have identified the help that you require, they will make recommendations about what assistance will benefit you and whether you require residential care. It’s important to visit the homes recommended by the authority not only to see the facilities, but also to meet the staff and see the interactions between the staff and the residents. Choosing your care home is a big decision, so it’s important to think carefully and weigh all the options. The local authority will work out a budget to ensure that you get the care you need, and then they will do a financial assessment to work out what proportion of your care they will cover.
The truth is that most people will now have to pay something toward their costs. In England, if you have capital or savings over £23,250 you will be accountable for all care home fees. The authority will assist with the first 12 weeks, anything beyond that is viewed as a loan that must be repaid. Your former home may not be included in the capital assessment under certain circumstances. If your partner remains living there or another relative aged over 60 resides there then the home won’t be included in the financial assessment. Any jointly held capital, like a savings account, will be treated as equally divided between the two partners.
If your capital assessment is between £14,250 and £23,250 then this will be taken into account to calculate your contributions toward your care. You pay £1 for every £250 of savings you have but you will also need to contribute all your income except your personal allowance. This is £24.90 a week. If your capital falls below the £14,250 threshold it isn’t taken into account. Once the authority has completed its financial assessment it will give you a written decision regarding how much you need to pay, what they will cover and give their calculation. You should not be left with less than your personal allowance once your fees are paid.
If you are over the £23,250 limit you should check that you are claiming all the benefits and assistance that you are entitled to. Depending on your income you could be entitled to income support or pension credit. An Attendance Allowance is available if you need care all day, all night, or both. If you are moving into a nursing home, then claim the NHS nursing contribution which is paid directly to the nursing home in your behalf.
You should keep in mind that over time your circumstances could change and the level of care that you require could be different. The local authority should be informed as your financial circumstances change so that they can reassess your contributions. It is recommended that you seek the help of a financial advisor who can show you how to plan efficiently to afford your care long term.
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