How Much Will It Cost to Have the Care At Home Service You Need?

The fact that you need some help with day-to-day tasks doesn’t mean that it’s time to move to residential care or give up your home and independent way of life. A care at home service often offers the best of both worlds.

Help is available during pre-arranged home visits at times you choose. Life can be made more manageable while you continue to enjoy the familiarity and security of your own surroundings. You can opt for a care service that helps meet a wide range of needs, from picking up prescriptions, shopping and preparing meals, through to help with personal hygiene or nursing care and medication.

What Care Do You Need?

Everyone is different and so are their care needs, which is why the first step is usually to arrange a care needs assessment with your local council. It might be that you will only need care for a limited period of time, such as recovering from illness or a hospital visit. Or it may be that you need something longer-term that will make day-to-day life more manageable.

Depending on your income and assets, it’s likely that you will have to pay for some or all of your care. The question of how much the care will cost then becomes very important. The care at home packages provided by Altogether Care are based on individual needs and are highly flexible. The costs are based on each client’s specific care package and are explained and discussed with each individual in advance.

To make it easier to understand how much your care is likely to cost, we’ve created a care cost calculator. This is an easy to use online tool that takes you step-by-step through your options looking at the types of care you want to receive. At the end of the process you will receive an accurate estimate of the cost of your care at home package. This will help you make better-informed decisions when it comes to planning your care.

Try the Care Cost Calculator

For more information, contact us on 01305 300 161.

Self-Funding Care: What You Need to Know

The simple truth is that in most cases you don’t need to be particularly wealthy before you become responsible for funding your own care. It is wise for everybody to think about this eventuality in advance and have a plan for how care would be funded if necessary.

If you have assets (including your home, savings, shares etc) and income (including pensions and benefits) worth more than £23,250 you will be a self-funder and expected to pay for all of your care. In the case of residential care this can be several thousand pounds per month.

If your assets fall below this level, and you have been formally assessed as needing care, the local authority will become responsible for funding some of your care. If your assets fall below £14,250 the local authority will be responsible for funding all of your care.

The above thresholds apply to England. Different values apply for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

You should also bear in mind that the contributions from local authorities may not cover the full costs of your preferred care home.


If your spouse or civil partner will continue living in your property after you go into residential care the property will not be counted among your assets. The property value may also not be counted if the home remains occupied by a close relative over the age of 60, a dependent child or a relative who is disabled or incapacitated.

Deferred Payment

For many people their home is their single largest asset and will ultimately fund their care. Local authorities are obliged to offer deferred payment. This means that they will take over immediate responsibility for funding care and then recover the cost when your property is sold, which may be after your death.

Some people choose to use an equity release scheme or to use the value of their home to fund an insurance or endowment scheme to pay for their care. You should always take professional financial advice before choosing these options.

Care Cost Cap

From 2020 the total amount any individual is expected to pay towards their care will be capped. The precise arrangements are not clear but the figure being discussed is £72,000. However, this only covers ‘defined care’ and not accommodation or living costs. Costs incurred before the cap is implemented will also not count. The implementation of the cap may make little practical difference for many people.

There are not many opportunities to limit your liability for care costs. You cannot simply give your assets away, for example. But it can reduce a great deal of anxiety if you know what your options are and have thought through what you are going to do.

We recommend you take professional advice from a specialist law firm if you are thinking about self-funding your care.


Why Couples Need to Plan for Care Home Fees

Financial planning for retirement and later life rarely includes the possibility of care home fees. Yet, even for people with modest assets who are receiving local authority funded care, fees can take a large chunk out of your estate. For couples it is particularly important to plan ahead and minimise your exposure.

The rules are quite complex and will change again in 2020 when the cap of £72,000 on care costs comes into force. Because local authorities are short of cash they are rigorously enforcing the rules that require people to fund some or all of their care.

Currently, anyone with assets of over approximately £23,000 will need to pay the entire cost of their care. The value of your home isn’t counted for care received in your own home but may be if you need to move into residential care. In most cases the fees are collected from the estate rather than being paid at the time.

This is where the wording in your Will becomes important. If one partner needs to go into residential care, it is possible to protect at least half of the estate from being used to pay the cost of care. However, you need to plan this while both partners are still alive. Once one partner has died there is very little you can do.

Giving away assets during your lifetime to avoid care home fees will almost certainly fail and can make life very complicated for the beneficiaries. Placing your home into a trust while you are alive so that it is effectively ‘owned’ by your children is also risky. If the council decides that you acted to deliberately avoid care home fees they will still try to recover them.

Passing half of the combined estate directly to your children on the death of the first partner also carries risks and complications, particularly for the surviving partner.

The safest option is to have a solicitor write appropriate trust arrangements into your Wills. This is the most effective way to minimise the amount of your assets that can be used to pay care bills and protect at least half of the estate for the surviving partner. And remember to review these arrangements periodically as the rules around fees and eligibility are likely to keep changing.

As ever, the further you plan ahead the better. If you don’t have a Will or if you haven’t considered the possibility of care fees you should talk to a qualified legal practitioner now to ensure that you have covered yourself for the future.

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