Care home fees jump to £33,000 a year – pushing cost of average stay over £80,000
Average care fees have risen above £33,000 this year, meaning the past 12 months saw costs rise at the fastest rate on record.
The 9.6pc increase between 2016 and 2017 was nearly double the previous year’s rise and, assuming a two-and-a-half year stay in a home, takes the average total cost of care to £84,760.
The nationwide survey of homes, conducted by Prestige Nursing + Care, a homecare firm, found the East of England had the highest average fees at £40,820 a year. By comparison, patients in Yorkshire and the Humber paid £28,964 a year.
Costs in the East Midlands rose the most in the past year, by 17.7pc to £33,956. Prices in the North East rose by 16.3pc to £25,636, just ahead of the West Midlands’ 16pc rise to average annual fees of £33,228.
Pensioner incomes are failing to keep pace. According to official government data, the average pensioner’s income rose by just 0.5pc over the same period, to £14,522. As a result, the average income can only pay for five months of care.
Prestige Nursing + Care’s Jonathan Bruce said: “The rising cost of care will eat away at a growing number of families’ finances as they use their assets to meet bills. This reinforces the fact that we are facing a serious and prolonged social care crisis.
“Spiralling costs mean people must talk about how they will fund care for themselves or their loved ones.”
The research also compared the cost of receiving care at home as a cheaper alternative. Based on the 12 hours a week of care that “at home” patients typically receive, costs can be as low as £183 a week, or £9,156 a year.
Theresa May attempted to address the care funding crisis in the Conservative manifesto ahead of the June election.
Her plan involved changing how the state assesses an individual’s wealth when deciding when the Government picks up the bill.
Under the plan, councils would have started picking up the tab for care once a person’s assets fell below £100,000, as opposed to the current level of £23,250 in England.
But, crucially, family homes would also be included in the meanstesting formula for “at home” care for the first time. At the same time, the plan for a lifetime cap – which would have helped those who needed long periods of care – was dropped.
The Tories quickly backtracked over the latter, which Labour called the “dementia tax”, and confirmed that there would be an overall cap after all, as promised in its 2015 manifesto.
A consultation on the revised proposals has yet to be published.