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The eye watering cost of care in the UK


Important - The information shown is not personal advice, if you are unsure of the suitability of an investment for your circumstances please contact us for personal advice. Tax rules can change and benefits depend on personal circumstances.

It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but long term care is something which will affect most people at some point in their lives and the better prepared they are, the better placed they’ll be to pay for it. Whether you’re thinking about how to care for a parent or you’re trying to work out your own arrangements, the average cost of a care home comes in at over £30,000 per year, or £40,000 if nursing care is required. So, you’ll need to financially prepare for it.

There are a number of care options to consider and also a number of ways to self-fund it. There is a means tested benchmark to receive financial support from your local authority which is low so you may wonder how you’re going to afford the seemingly exorbitant cost of care.

However with the help of an expert, it might not be as impossible as it first seems. Find out more about paying for long term care and the expert help available from HL.

We’ve written this article to give you useful information about financing later life but it isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure on a course of action for you please contact us for advice.

Bruce Pearce
Head of Advisory Services

Average weekly care costs per region

The cost of care varies throughout the UK with the average being £880 per week for nursing care. Costs vary depending on the type of care you need and the facilities provided. The figures below are for standard residential and nursing care for older people, but costs for more specialised care, such as for dementia, are typically higher.

Residential care Nursing care
North East £574 £716
North West £542 £852
Yorkshire and the Humber £591 £810
East Midlands £623 £812
West Midlands £597 £920
East of England £662 £1,024
London £744 £902
South East £775 £1,019
South West £700 £1,015
Wales £607 £801
Scotland £761 £845
Northern Ireland £534 £691
UK average £645 £880

Source: Payingforcare.org 2019/20


Make sure you’ve got a long term care plan

Long term care is a tough subject to talk about. It’s a sensitive topic and the options can seem confusing. As the cost of care is so high, employing an expert adviser to help you plan the financial aspect of care could make a difference to how comfortable later life is for you or a loved one. Remember, the cost of care often impacts those around you so it’s often best to involve them in your planning too.

HL’s specialist long term care advisers

We have a specialist team of financial advisers who have specific qualifications to help them help their clients plan their long term care finances and arrangements.

Find out more about them, or book a call with our Advisory Helpdesk to find out more about their services. If you decide you’d like to speak to a specialist, our helpdesk will put you in touch with an adviser.

Meet the team   Book a call


Ways to pay for self-funded care

Find out more about our specialist care advisers

Meet the team

Bruce Pearce
Head of Advisory Services

Ways to pay for self-funded care

Use your existing assets

Where possible the first place to look at funding care is an investment portfolio. On a simple level, you could calculate the yearly income a portfolio generates and how much care will cost per year. If there’s a shortfall, there are other options available to close that gap.

Many of the clients we work with can restructure their portfolios to maximise income to help pay for care. This can be difficult so it’s best to ask an expert.

Buy an annuity

When it comes to paying for care, you can buy two types of annuity. Which one you choose will depend on if you need the annuity to make up for a shortfall in income from other means now or in the future.

Immediate needs annuity

As the name suggests, an immediate needs annuity is for people who need to start paying for care straight away.

Like other annuities, the cost will depend on your health, your age, how much income you need and annuity rates at the time. However one difference is that this annuity also takes into consideration the level of care you need now and in the future.

An immediate needs annuity could be suitable if you want peace of mind that costs will always be covered and you have the means to pay for the annuity up front.

But if it’s easy to foresee that care is only needed for a short period of time, an annuity may not be the right option.

This type of annuity needs to be bought up front and loved ones won’t get any money back if you don’t live as long as expected and no capital protection has been taken out. For many though, the risk of ‘over paying’ is worth it to make sure that costs are always met and the care given is of the highest quality possible.

Deferred annuity

If you can afford to, you can defer the start of your annuity for a number of years. Generally, the longer you can hold off the cheaper the annuity.

Other than that, deferred and immediate needs annuities are the same. The things to consider are; do you want to pay up front, do you have enough to cover the fees until the annuity kicks in and does the annuity income match any increases in costs over time.

Going into care can be a distressing time. To know care costs are met and there are no financial worries gives our clients, and their families, such peace of mind.

Sam Gibson, HL financial adviser

Sell your home

The ability to pay for care will normally take into consideration the value of your property. The means test threshold is very low - just £23,250 in England and Northern Ireland. So, most people will have to pay towards their care.

For many, the idea of selling their home is a heart breaking thought but this may seem like the only way to pay for high care costs. But with careful planning far enough in advance, this action may become more of a last resort than a go-to. With expert advice, there may be ways to use your or your loved ones’ other assets before you need to think about selling a property

Depending on the level of care you need, you can use the proceeds from your house to buy or rent property in sheltered accommodation. That way you can at least feel like you have your own home but with help on hand if you need it.


Make sure you’ve got a long term care plan

Long term care is a tough subject to talk about. It’s a sensitive topic and the options can seem confusing. As the cost of care is so high, employing an expert adviser to help you plan the financial aspect of care could make a difference to how comfortable later life is for you or a loved one. Remember, the cost of care often impacts those around you so it’s often best to involve them in your planning too.

HL’s specialist long term care advisers

We have a specialist team of financial advisers who have specific qualifications to help them help their clients plan their long term care finances and arrangements.

Find out more about them, or book a call with our Advisory Helpdesk to find out more about their services. If you decide you’d like to speak to a specialist, our helpdesk will put you in touch with an adviser.

Meet the team   Book a call


The importance of planning

Find out more about our specialist care advisers

Meet the team

Adam Kemp
Financial Adviser

You’ll probably have options, but which one should you consider?

The way you pay for care will depend on the type and level of care you need. It will also depend on how your care may need to change over time and the assets you have. It’s not always easy to plan for those changes, but it’s important to have a plan in place and know which of your assets you have to use and at what point.

Beyond considering how to pay for your care, you may also be thinking about how much you’ll have left over when you’re gone for your loved ones to inherit. Unfortunately, this only complicates matters more and it’s best to ask a financial adviser for guidance on how to pay for your care and how to pass on your remaining wealth when you’re gone.

Client case study

Adam Kemp
Financial Adviser

Mr Smith approached me for advice as his mother had recently moved into long term care. As Mr Smith had power of attorney (POA), it fell to him to arrange Mrs Smith’s care using her assets.

After explaining the main options to Mr Smith, I got into the numbers. I had a look at her income, eligibility for State Benefits and the cost of her care and found there was an annual shortfall of £25,000. Mrs Smith had assets of £213,000 and it was my challenge to help her and Mr Smith use those assets in a way that would make up the shortfall.

There are potentially six options available for funding long term care costs. The first three involve property but none of these were viable options in this case.

That left three options:

  1. Keep the money in the bank
  2. Invest the money in a different way so as to try and generate more income
  3. ‘Buy’ an income through an immediate needs annuity

We discussed all three options and Mr Smith and I agreed an immediate needs annuity would best suit the circumstances and assets available.

The aim of an annuity is to use a proportion of a client’s wealth to secure a guaranteed lifetime income and fill in the shortfall. An immediate needs annuity can be a comforting option as the cost is known from the outset and the income guaranteed after that.

The income from the annuity plus Mrs Smith’s other secured income sources and State Benefits would allow her to get the care she and Mr Smith wanted.


Make sure you’ve got a long term care plan

Long term care is a tough subject to talk about. It’s a sensitive topic and the options can seem confusing. As the cost of care is so high, employing an expert adviser to help you plan the financial aspect of care could make a difference to how comfortable later life is for you or a loved one. Remember, the cost of care often impacts those around you so it’s often best to involve them in your planning too.

HL’s specialist long term care advisers

We have a specialist team of financial advisers who have specific qualifications to help them help their clients plan their long term care finances and arrangements.

Find out more about them, or book a call with our Advisory Helpdesk to find out more about their services. If you decide you’d like to speak to a specialist, our helpdesk will put you in touch with an adviser.

Meet the team   Book a call


Meet the team

Find out more about our specialist care advisers

Meet the team

Bruce Pearce
Head of Advisory Services

Meet our specialist team

Meet our team of specialist long term care advisers. In addition to their regular financial advice qualifications, they each hold a certificate in equity release and an award in long term care insurance. Each adviser has also completed extra exams on long term care and are members of the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA).



    Hugh Breach

“Long term care is an emotive and difficult topic. I’m here to help you plan and understand your options to find the right approach for you. By getting on the front foot, I can help mitigate the impact that long term care can have on your overall financial planning. “

Contact Hugh

    Steven Richardson

“With an ageing population, it is vitally important that planning for longer term care is taken into account. I help my clients with this planning to help the family at one of the most stressful times of their lives.”

Contact Steven

    Adam Kemp

“It’s easy to forget about or put off planning later life. It’s difficult to talk about but it’s essential to get right. I’m here to help you manage your money and get the best care for you using whatever resources you have available”

Contact Adam

    Andrew Mence

“I recognise the increasing importance of long term care in our society and the associated dilemma of paying for it. I want to help clients through this emotive area of planning and have achieved the accreditation by SOLLA (Society of Later Life Advisers) to help people understand their options and provide appropriate recommendations”

Contact Andrew

    Bradley Clark

“Helping a loved one at the point they need care can be a stressful and challenging time. I’m here to help ease that burden, and make sure you have a financial plan in place to succeed.”

Contact Bradley

    Samantha Gibson

“I want my clients to feel at ease talking about long term care planning. After 17 years’ experience dealing with Long Term Care cases I want you to feel confident I can answer your queries and give peace of mind. This can be a very stressful and difficult time ahead for everyone involved and it is important you can call on someone you trust.”

Contact Samantha

    Thomas Cowell

“Later life care is an important part of retirement planning. Whether you are already receiving care or preparing for the uncertainties associated with later life, my role is to ensure that you and your loved ones are best positioned for the years ahead and you have peace of mind knowing that”

Contact Thomas

Make sure you’ve got a long term care plan

Long term care is a tough subject to talk about. It’s a sensitive topic and the options can seem confusing.

As the cost of care is so high, employing an expert adviser to help you plan the financial aspect of care could make a difference to how comfortable later life is for you or a loved one. Remember, the cost of care often impacts those around you so it’s often best to involve them in your planning too.

Book a call

Want to talk it through?

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