Home Care Costs
What is home care for the elderly?
Many of us find that we need of care services for ourselves or for family members at some point in our lives. Carers with experience are a great help to elderly people who struggle to get through daily tasks.
Topics you will find in this article
Home care is a type of service aimed at helping people to manage living in their own homes and it can have a very positive impact on their lifestyle. It is aimed particularly at those who struggle to get about their homes or who cannot carry out daily functions without difficulty.
Home care offers an alternative to living in a care home. It is many people’s interest to remain in their own property among familiar surroundings.
An older person may need permanent assistance from a live-in carer, if they are suffering from a long-term mental or physical condition. They may also need lots of regular home visits or short-term help and support while they recover from hospital or short-term illness.
It is the role of a social worker to outline plans for the types of care that a person requires. This will make it easier to calculate future in home help costs.
For more information on the principlas of home care, see the following article from the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/care-services-equipment-and-care-homes/homecare/
How much does homecare cost?
The cost of home care packages in the UK will depend on the number of hours that homecare services are required. This could be anything between an hour per week or several hours per day; it may even be required that the carer live with the person in need of care. The hourly cost of care at home will also vary between agencies.
Some local councils put in place an upper limit as to how much older people will pay each week for care at home, but this is not always the case.
Home care costs per hour UK are, on average, roughly £15-20 an hour. This may vary between different parts of the country and different home care providers.
Hourly rates are sometimes subject to an increase if the person needs care during weekends or bank holidays.
The UK Care Guide has provided a care costs calculator:
It costs from approximately £650 per week to have a live-in carer; but this could increase to around £1,600 for someone who requires a great amount of care. This could prove more costly than the cost of care homes.
Care home fees for a residential care home cost about £600 p/w. Fees for a nursing home, one that provides private care with trained nurses on hand as well as accommodation, cost approximately £840 p/w.
The amount that a person pays towards homecare depends on the amount of assets they have and the level of help that they need. This will be calculated by a means test from the local council, once the needs assessment has been completed.
Who pays for the home care costs?
In most cases, it is expected that the elderly person will pay the care fees from their own budget (this is known as ‘self-funding’).
That is if the local authority decides that the person in need of care cannot afford it without maintaining a reasonable income.
Everyone in care is entitled to an income of £189 a week (or £24.90 a week if they are in a residential care home).
Some local councils may contribute to in home elderly care costs if it deems that the elderly person in question is in need of financial help. The person in need of care must complete a means test to receive care funding.
For those who are self-funded, it is sometimes possible to get the council to arrange home care services and send you the appropriate bills. Not all local councils do this and, among those that do, there may be a service fee involved.
Councils can use direct payments for paying for care at home so that they transfer money to people in care. Personal budgets are similar to direct payments, but they allow older people more control over how use their finances for personal care. Age UK provides more information on these two systems, to help decide which one might be a better option.
The means test will contain questions assessing things like savings, income and pension so that the council can take into account the means the person applying for care has. The council will not take benefits into account and will assume that the person is already receiving any benefits that they are entitled too.
The local authority’s terms are as follows: those with capital (i.e. savings or inheritance) worth more than £23,250 do not qualify for local authority funding; while those with capital worth between £14,250 and £23,250 will only be eligible for some of their in-home care or care home costs to be funded by the authority.
Any capital worth less than this will not be considered, but eligible income will.
Capital shared with someone else (i.e. a spouse) is considered in halves, one of which belongs to the person seeking care.
Where a person is looking to move into a care home, the value of their property will be taken into account. In most cases, it is likely that they will either have to sell the property or release equity on the property, in order to fund care home fees.
Money given away (i.e. money from savings given to family), will be assessed under the term ‘deprivation of assets’. In this way, the council are sure that those applying for financial support aren’t trying to divert money that they could otherwise spend on care.
Once the test has been completed, the local council will give a written record that states how much they and the person in need of care will pay.
What financial support is there for those paying for care fees?
Older people in need of care may also apply for over 65s benefits from the government. These include Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Unlike help with the cost of social care, PIP is available to all people over 65 and is not calculated on a needs basis. This means that money such as income and savings is no longer relevant.
More information is available on the NHS website:
Where an elderly person is receiving benefits such as attendance allowance, it is possible for their carer to receive carer’s allowance, to help the cost even further.
While sale or equity release of a property, before or after death, is sometimes the best way to afford the cost of a care home, it it not necessary when paying towards care in the home.
When it comes to finding the best option to pay for care in the home, the following organisations are available to answer any questions from the elderly or their families:
- Society of Late Life Advisers;
- Age UK;
- Independent Age;
- Money Advice Service.
What can you get for free?
There are a range of benefits available to over 65s from the government.
Whatever your income, it is possible to get any piece of equipment under £1000 for free.
You can also get free support packages, including NHS continuing healthcare, NHS-funded nursing care and care after you have been discharged from hospital. To apply for these, you have to contact the adult social services at your local council.
Care after being discharged from the hospital can last up to six weeks, allowing you to get adequate rest. It is especially useful to those recovering from a stroke and can be in the form of equipment or a personal helper.
Continuing care is available for those with long-lasting issues, such as dementia.
Additionally, if you do find yourself moving to a care home then an immediate care annuity might be an option to consider.
What is a home carer?
Home careers are trained individuals who give care and support to the elderly in their own home.
They are usually qualified in first aid and in Health and Social Care so that they are equipped to help and support older people. They must also have experience in assisting with both the medical and practical needs of those in care.
Here is a video that explains what a home carer role involves.
What types of care are available?
A home carer provides help things such as:
- Getting out of and into bed;
- Washing, putting on clothes, brushing hair;
- Cleaning the house and doing laundry;
- Offering friendly companionship to the elderly person;
- Cooking meals, preparing drinks and shopping;
- Using the bathroom;
- Prescriptions and medication;
- Getting the patient to a hospital/GP appointment;
- Collecting pension money.
They report to their senior manager or supervisor. In the event that the they are concerned about the safety and welfare of the person in care, it is their responsibility to contact their superior.
Who can get home care?
Home care is a solution available to those aged 65 years or above, who would not benefit from the impact of home modifications.
Before getting help at home, one must question whether the home of the person who needs care is safe and can be adjusted in order that it is safe.
How to find homecare?
If the necessary requirements are met, then local councils can employ private carers for elderly on their behalf. To do this, it is necessary to request a needs assessment from the local council.
District nurse, GPs or hospital staff can refer patients for a needs assessment, if they believe that it will provide the help that they require.
It does not cost anything to get a needs assessment form. The form is available online or can be sought be phoning the local council’s social services.
A care needs assessment will also allow the council to decide what sort of care you need and how often you need it. Once the assessment is complete, the council will either give a written care plan or they will inform you of other care options that are available.
In order to source a good quality home care agency and find out more about the number of different options available, one should refer to:
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