Care in your area
The provision and cost of care can vary wildly from area to area, whether you are eligible for council funding or are a self-payer.
Social care for older people is facing many issues, with funding cuts leading to higher eligibility thresholds to get support from your local authority. Councils are also paying less for places in care homes for the people they fund, meaning that costs could be pushed up for those paying for their own place, as residential settings have to find ways to compensate for the shortfall.
A new report published jointly by the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund shows a detailed overview of the current care system and provisions. It found that access to care and support is becoming more dependent on what individuals can afford to pay themselves and also where they live, as opposed to what they actually need.
It also found that there is a large issue with under-investment, which is needed to help people to continue to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. It predicts that local authorities will soon struggle to meet their basic statutory social care duties. The report predicts that the gap between care needs and available resources will continue to widen; data shows that 26% fewer older people were getting help with their care needs from their local authority in 2013-2014 than in 2008-2009.
This is likely to have a knock-on effect to NHS services too, as older people are facing delayed discharge from hospital while appropriate care packages are set up to support them at home.
The severity of the situation does vary from local authority to local authority. The BBC has published a useful tool showing the cost of care in different areas in the UK. The tool was put together using a range of different sources, with average costs for both homecare and residential care being calculated. It details how much costs differ from region to region. Four in ten people pay for their own care across the UK.
An older person living in Hampshire who is assessed as needing help from the local authority on average receives 12 hours of care at home with the council paying around £15.50 per hour. If you are a self-payer, you will be paying an average of £22.70 per hour to fund your own home care. For residential care in a care home, for those people eligible for some help, the council pays an average of £440 towards the £640 weekly cost.
In Liverpool, when looking at homecare, an eligible person on average receives around 9 hours of funded care with the council paying £11.40 an hour. A self-payer will need to find £21.60 an hour, which is close to the same cost as those in Hampshire, even though the council pays a much lower amount. For a care home, the weekly cost is an average of £424, which in eligible cases, the council will pay £321 towards.
These figures can help you to start to plan for your own future care needs, as if social care continues to face financial pressures over the coming years, less people will be able to get help with their care costs and will need to fund their own support.