There is currently an ongoing social crisis in the UK with the rising costs of care homes making it increasingly difficult for pensioners or their families to afford the care that they need. A recent research study found that the average cost of a stay in a care home is now £33,904 a year, which is the fastest rate that this figure has risen and up nearly 10% when compared to 2016.
The average pensioner income is unable to keep up with these rates and has risen by just 0.5% in the last year. This brings the total to £14,522, which would only be enough for a 5-month stay at the new average cost of care. The average length of stay is two and a half years, which would take the average cost of care to £84,760.
There is great disparity up and down the country. The East of England has the highest average annual cost of care at £40,820, which leaves a £25,636 shortfall in pensioner income for the area. The most affordable, meanwhile, is the North East with annual costs of £25,636, but even here has a shortfall of £12,012.
This crisis became a major talking point in the General Election, with the Conservative Manifesto outlining plans for councils to cover the costs when a person’s assets fell below £100,000, as opposed to the current level of £23,250. However, this was controversial as it would, for the first time, include family homes in the means-testing formula for at-home care.
Whilst some are able to receive care at home and adapting their home with the latest equipment from places like Mobility Solutions, this is not a possibility for all. This can result in families having to sell their assets to afford care for their loved ones. In order to pump more money into the ever-growing problem, the Government will need to use the upcoming budget to put more money into the system and make it easier for pensioners to receive the care that they need without families having to make huge financial sacrifices that could have a knock-on effect.
The fast-rising costs of care homes is creating a social crisis in the UK with pensioners being unable to afford care based on the average pensioner income. The Government’s plans have been controversial, so the upcoming budget will reveal the latest thinking on this difficult topic and will indicate what the near future looks like for those that require care.