In numbers released by Prestige Nursing and Care, the average price of a UK care home sits at an astonishing annual price of £33,904; this is around 10% higher than it was in the previous year and has left many wondering what the state of the care system will be in the future.
An upward trend can be seen in a review of the last two decades, with the average price of care home residence doubling to around £1,000 a week! Taking a look at the figures, research released by Telegraph Money in October indicates that the standard price for residential homing has seen an average increase of 2.7% each year; whilst tariffs for supported care has seen a tremendous 4.4% rise in the same period. Yet, as these costs dramatically rise, the average pension income has only seen a minor improvement (9.9% to be exact), rising to around £1,314 a week, which leaves little budget for other expenditure.
The climbing prices are down to several factors, according to reports; however, much of it can be attributed to internal issues such as staff shortages and tighter budgets that has caused many care home organisations to face financial difficulties. The result? Continually rising costs for the senior citizens who rely on these establishments, as demand for assisted care home services continues to surge in light of increasing living ages.
The seniors that are the most vulnerable financially are the ones who do not need regular assistance but are still required to pay high care fees. This can be particularly tight for many who are relying on their pensions or the artificially low state-assigned budgets to pay for living costs. Whilst the report by Prestige Nursing and Care also revealed unfair price discrepancies in terms of location. Those in the north-east appear to be better off, with an average annual price of £25,636; whilst those to the east of the nation are the worst off, with a ball-point price of £40,820 per year.
In addition, the expanding financial gap is clear between the price for state-funded residents and privately-paying occupants, with the latter struggling to pay the high prices for the financial burdens faced by care home operators. In recent findings released by the NHS Digital, over 1.8 million requests for help were received in 2016, and the sad reality is that this figure sees no indication of falling.
The responsibility for paying for care has been widely debated, with several proposals submitted for minister review. It had been advocated by the prime minister earlier in the year that councils should pay for an individual’s care when their assets fall under £100,000 instead of the current £23,250; however, this suggested scheme was rejected. The County Councils Network, which acts for 37 county councils, has highlighted that raising the threshold would drive more people into state-funded care that local authorities couldn’t afford on their current budgets.
So, as the responsibility of pay remains firmly on individuals who are receiving deprived funds, the question faced by many is whether a residential care home or in-house care is the most cost-effective avenue; this decision will ultimately be determined by yours, or your loved ones, circumstances. The best way to figure out the best route for care is to conduct thorough research and seek care home advice from professionals and charitable boards. For more assistance on this subject, take a look at our dedicated section that provides helpful insights and guides about residential care to help you make more informed decisions.