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Cost of Care Rises by 10% in Just One Year

Alarming Inflation in Care Home Fees.

Cost of Care Rises by 10% in Just One Year

The cost of a place in a care home is rising at its fastest rate ever, while pension incomes have little hope of keeping pace.

Between 2016 and 2017, the rate of inflation in the cost of residential and nursing care was an eye watering 10%. Whilst there was a very wide variation in care costs between the regions, the national average annual cost of a care home place hit £34,000 in 2017, and the annual cost of a nursing home place was as much as £44,000 in some parts of the country.

Care costs inflation has far outstripped the growth in pension incomes. Since 2012, care home fees have risen by 23%, more than twice as fast as pension income, which have grown by 9% in the same period. As the gap between care costs and pension income steadily widens, the annual average cost of a care home place is already more than twice the average annual pension income.

Meanwhile many local authorities are at breaking point, coping with spiralling demand for elderly care services whilst funds continue to dwindle in this age of austerity, and the newly-minted Health & Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock is under pressure to get an interim funding package for social care into the 2018 Autumn Budget.

Any Chance of a Political Solution?

A political solution, taking account of the needs of both elderly people and local authorities, has never been more urgently needed. But sadly, such a solution seems as distant a prospect as ever. Hancock’s predecessor, Jeremy Hunt, first promised a Green Paper on adult social care policy back in 2017. Deafening silence characterised the ensuing months, until Hunt made a springtime pledge to have the Green Paper ready before the 2018 Summer Recess.

But in a speech to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS in June 2018, Hunt admitted the dog had once again eaten his homework, and that the eagerly awaited Green Paper would once again be delayed for several months.  Even once published, the Green Paper wouldn’t actually change anything. No decisions would be made until the 2019 spending review, and any such decisions wouldn’t be acted upon until 2020. 

 “With this delay, the onus is now firmly on the government to live up to their promises and come up with some game-changing ideas.” Commented Caroline Abrahams, charity Director at Age UK.

Take Matters into Your Own Hands

Sadly, then, if you hope the Rt Hon Matt Hancock will throw us a lifeline on care home fees, don't hold your breath. The sensible approach is to hope for the best while planning for the worst. A useful starting point is to arm yourself with knowledge about where you stand, by reading our previous post on Planning for the Cost of Care. And, as an example of the sensible and cost-effective decisions one couple made to protect their legacy from care fees, Ray and Joyce’s Story may resonate with you.

If you’re seeking more specific advice about your own circumstances, feel free to get in touch, either by calling us on 0151 601 5399 or by completing the contact form below. 

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