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What you can expect to pay

Residential long-term care costs three times more than the average annual mortgage payment

On average someone who requires care in a residential care home may expect to pay in the region of £25,000 per annum, a huge ongoing sum of money to find at any age, yet alone in their later years. (Compare that for example with the average mortgage cost which is small by comparison at just £7,860per annum source Saga).

On top of the already high cost of care and massive regional differences, recent research from Saga also reveals that, in the last decade, care home fees have risen faster than general economy inflation. On average over the last three years care home fees have risen by 1.5% more than the Retail Price Index.

Cost comparissons across the UK

Care home fees vary by almost 50% across the UK.

Recent analysis from Laing and Buisson, shows Northern Ireland is the cheapest region for residential and nursing care and the Northern Home Counties the most expensive for nursing care with London the most expensive for residential care. Contrary to popular misconceptions, care is not free in Scotland and fees there are exposed as more expensive than Wales, Northern Ireland and the North of England.

By region, nursing homes were at their most expensive in the Northern Home Counties where on average the cost was £43,472 p.a., Northern Ireland had the cheapest nursing homes with an average of £27,976.

Northern Home Counties nursing care is, on average, 47% more expensive than that in the North of England resulting in a £13,988 p.a. difference.

No nursing homes were found in Northern Ireland that cost more than £31,148 p.a.

By contrast 93% of nursing homes in inner or outer London all cost more than £31,200 p.a.

Residential homes (providing accommodation but not nursing care) were at their most expensive in London where fees averaged £29,484 p.a. By contrast, Northern Ireland again provided the cheapest with an average cost of £20,904 p.a.

Sixty-one per cent of Scottish residential care homes were found to charge between £23,400 and £25,948 p.a.

Contrary to popular belief, care is not free in Scotland. In the United Kingdom care is generally broken down into three component parts; accommodation costs, personal care, and nursing care. However, unlike in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Scottish state pays for personal care and nursing care. Since it’s inception in 2002, state funded personal care has meant that Scottish people requiring care can be better off than their English, Welsh or Northern Irish counterparts. But the truth is that Scotland does not have a ‘free care’ system, it is often misunderstood by those who use it and has distorted other charges made by care providers.

If you need to stay in a care home in Scotland then the state will cover your personal care and your nursing care (currently £149 and £67 per week respectively). However you will still need to pay for your accommodation costs, which usually constitute the lion's share of the total cost. Because Scottish care homes are unable to set the charge for personal or nursing care, we have seen the care home accommodation costs increase by 69% since 2002 when the new legislation was introduced, which compares to an average increase across the UK of 48%