While caring for ageing parents or grandparents is undeniably something we all know we may have to do, it doesn’t negate the immense financial pressure that doing so can put on a family, only adding to stress levels at an already difficult time.
Sadly, it seems that this pressure isn’t set to ease either, as a new report reveals that average nursing home fees have reached a staggering £1,000 a week for people who self-fund care for older relatives.
Analyst LaingBuisson also found that fees even reached the £1,200 mark in some areas – a huge amount, considering the average weekly wage sits at around £500.
The report (as reported by The Telegraph) said, “National average self-pay fees for nursing care across the country are now approaching £1,000 per week, with developers of new-build provision targeting well over £1,000, depending on the specification, location and segment of the market addressed.
“LaingBuisson surveys now indicate that about 10 per cent of existing nursing care capacity is in the £1,200 per week plus bracket.”
This astronomical figure was compared to the fees paid by people with relatives in state-funded homes, who it’s estimated pay a smaller, but substantial fee of around £486 per week. People who are in residential homes without nursing care also pay on average £700 per week.
We’re well aware of the pressures on social care in the NHS, but these figures show that care of the elderly is clearly becoming more expensive than ever before.
Generally, older people are expected to pay for their own residential care if they have assets worth more than £23,250, including property.
And charges for care may still go up. The LaingBuisson report also added that, should a new living wage be introduced by a Conservative government, more pressure will be put on care homes to up their fees. The report predicted that care homes will have to increase charges by at least 3.9% every year to maintain their profits.
Finally, the report called on the official regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, to take a look at whether the fees were fair.
It said: “The CMA may wish to consider whether the wide disparity in fees paid by local authorities and self-payers for the same level of accommodation and service amounts to a cross-subsidy which results in detriment to the consumer.”
Interestingly, the news comes as PM Theresa May announces an election pledge regarding care for ill or elderly relatives, saying that relatives and carers be allowed up to a year off of work to care for them. However, this would be taken as unpaid leave.
Given rising nursing home fees though, could this be a solution?