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How to pay for long-term care of your loved ones

The average person can expect to spend nearly 60% of their retirement in good health, but how will you pay for the other 40%?


by Michelle McGagh on Feb 22, 2012 at 10:29

How to pay for long-term care of your loved ones

Long-term care has been put under the spotlight recently as the government tries to figure how to deal with people living longer, but not necessarily more healthily, in retirement.

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the pace at which life expectancy after age 65 is increasing is not being matched by the number of years lived in good health. Men and women who retire at 65 can currently expect to spend 56% and 57% respectively of their retirement in good health.

It’s great that people are living longer, but 40% of your retirement could be spent in ill health, so how will you pay for the care you may need?

How much does it cost?

The cost of care depends on a number of factors: the type of care you require, whether you stay in your home, and the area in which you live.

Care homes can be a good solution for those needing round-the-clock care. The cost of residential homes varies widely, and you will pay more if the home has qualified nurses rather than just carers.

The average cost of a care home is £700 per week, but prices can be far higher – homes in the South East are particularly pricey.

Care at home is an option if the person who needs care does not want to leave their home or needs day-to-day help, or 'domiciliary care'.

The average cost of domiciliary care is £10 to £15 per hour, but live-in 24-hour care is far more costly and can be equal to the cost of a care home, but with the additional expense of running a home.

Sheltered housing is for people who are able to look after themselves but would like to have an on-site warden in case of emergency. There are many options for sheltered housing, including renting, buying or part-buying, but all incur additional service charges to cover the cost of on-site support and cleaning and maintenance.

Retirement villages are another solution for those who do not need round-the-clock care but would like support. Retirement villages offer a community of similarly aged people who live in individual properties but have support for maintenance should it be needed. They also provide access to care.

As with sheltered housing, the cost of retirement villages depends on the type of property you want to buy and its location. There will also be additional service charges to cover the costs incurred at the village.

Doesn’t the state pay?

As people live longer, the government is struggling to pay for state pensions, let alone long-term care. Andrew Dilnot, a former economist, was given the task of finding a solution to the long-term care problem.

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2 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Andrew Makin

Feb 26, 2012 at 11:18

It seems some inhabit a parallel universe when it comes to discussing older age. We have long known that life expectancy is rising faster than healthy life expectancy. How is this news? Additionally, although the true cost of long term care might be £700 per week, you won't find a council in this land prepared to pay that. They want it as cheap as they can get it and never mind the quality. Nursing care comes in around £500 per week, or £3 per hour, for the most frail people we have. For residential care, councils pay around £350 pw, or £120 less than they charge for their own homes. If we are going to have fairness and openness in care, let's start with local authorities.

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The Wills Man

Feb 27, 2012 at 07:55

The current system is two tier:

For those who work hard, pay taxes and buy their own home or save to provide for their old age they have to forfeit virtually all of that if they need long term care (see the figures in the article)

For those who live their lives without a care for the future, the State (taxpayer) picks up the cost of long term care. (and probably has done for some time through over-generous State Benefits for many)

Whilst the present system remains as it is, those of us who take our lives and our future responsibly must protect our hard-worked-for assets from this grossly unfair system.

There are Trusts available, (at a modest cost by comparison), that enable us to provide for our own needs on our own terms and leave us with the option to provide an inheritance for our loved ones.

If we all did this then the current "let's-have-all-your-money" mentality of successive Governments would have to be reformed sooner rather than later.

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