care home costs

1 December 2023 

Care Home Costs & Care Home Fees In The UK In December 2023

I’m sure you will agree that when it comes to finding out about care home costs, it can get very confusing!

On this page, you will find:

  • Answers to some of the most commonly asked such as “how much does a care home cost”
  • The top three things that impact care home prices in the UK
  • How to know if you are responsible for paying for care home fees, as well as the types of financial support for care home expenses you might be eligible for
  • A care costs calculator to help you work out the weekly and annual price of care homes, no matter where in the UK you live
  • Alternatives to care homes that you should consider, such as live in care services

Topics that you will find covered on this page

Background to care home and residential care prices

UK care fees, sometimes referred to as nursing home fees, are something that you need to calculate carefully. Particularly as care home costs can be over £1,500 a week.

We have produced a care costs calculator (below) that will allow you to estimate the cost of your care. All you need to do is input in the area of the country where you live, and we will show you the average cost of care homes in your area over the short, medium and long term. 

Knowing this information will help you plan how to pay for your care.

How much does a care home cost?

The cost of care homes depends on where in the UK you live and what type of care you need. 

Research shows that average care home fees range from £27,000 to £39,000 per annum for a residential care home.  Care costs increase to £35,000 – £55,000 per year if nursing care is required.

Click here to see the video on youtube.

Care Costs – The key questions answered about care home prices and nursing home costs

Answered below are some of the most common questions we get asked about care home prices in the UK.

Will I have to pay for my nursing home costs?

Your ability to pay for care will be determined through a means test called a Care Needs Assessment.  You can read more about that here.

In simple terms, as part of the means test, your property will not be included if you’re arranging live-in care and support at home. It may also not be included if you live with a partner, child, or a relative who is disabled or over the age of 60.

Therefore, in this circumstance, you will not need to sell your house and you may be eligible for some support.

The cut-off point after which you are responsible for meeting the cost of your own care home charges is £23,250.  If you are paying your own fees then this is known as self-funding.  If your capital and income are above this then it is likely that you will need to provide for your own care fees.

What alternatives are there to a care home?

More and more older people that need help are now looking at Live in Care and personal care services to provide an alternative to a care home. We would recommend you look at this as you may be eligible to use this option instead.

This is because it is often much cheaper and also means that you can have one to one personal care support, which is important to a lot of families. The costs are also cheaper as you are responsible for providing accommodation for the carer, typically in the home of the person receiving the personal care.

How much do live in carers cost?

The cost of home care can vary depending on factors such as the level of care needed, location, chosen provider, and specific requirements of the individual. In the UK, the average cost of a live-in home carer ranges from £650 to £1,500 per week, covering their salary, accommodation, meals, and administrative expenses.

Additional fees may apply for specialized services like dementia care or 24-hour support. It’s important to research and compare different care agencies, considering both the needs and budget.

Financial assistance options such as benefits like Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment can help offset home care costs. Consulting with a financial advisor or local authorities can provide further guidance on available assistance.


Here is a short video that looks at live in care.

Can I get financial help towards the cost of my nursing home fees?

The financial support available will depend on what wealth you have, but if you live in England and have savings of more than £23,250 then paying for care will be your responsibility. This is known as self-funding.

At present, the cost of residential care will be means-tested through a care needs support and financial assessment, which means the more money you have, the less financial support you potentially can receive through a social care budget.

However, if you have what is considered as continuing care needs, then NHS continuing healthcare may still be able to fund all your care. This would be considered outside of any means test financial assessment.

However, to receive this support you need to have a ‘primary health’ need. You can read more about NHS continuing healthcare funding here. If you are looking at fees for someone with dementia, it is likely that the NHS won’t treat this as a primary need.

Therefore, you may still need to fund this yourself and it is about 20% higher than typical nursing care home fees.

Before you move into a care home, your local council will undertake a care needs and financial assessment, which include your income, savings and property and then calculate how much you will need to pay towards your care.

If you do have to find your care fees, then an alternative option to consider is to take care at home and pay for it via equity release.

What is included in care home fees?

Depending on the type and degree of care required, the cost of a nursing home might vary dramatically.

In general, these expenses may include a weekly fee for housing, meals, laundry services, and other amenities, in addition to fees for personal care services such as assistance with dressing, bathing, eating, and movement.

Specialist medical or nursing services that are not covered by the standard care home rates may incur additional fees. When picking a nursing home, it is essential to confirm precisely what is included in the prices.

Representatives of residential care facilities must be able to provide a comprehensive summary of all fees related to their residence or facility.

Watch out for hidden fees

It is also vital to be aware of any hidden fees, such as telephone installation or premium TV packages that are not included in the normal price. These charges should be made explicit from the outset so that there are no unanticipated expenses once you have moved into the care facility.

In rare instances, financial assistance may be provided to assist with the payment of UK nursing home bills.

Local councils can perform care cost evaluations to determine what amount of support a person needs and how much they or their family can contribute to their care costs.

Additionally, those over the age of 60 may be eligible for Attendance Allowance, which assists with the expense of personal care in residential facilities.

When choosing a facility, it is essential to understand the expenses associated with the care home so that you are not surprised by unexpected charges in the future. Taking the time to investigate your options and familiarise yourself will ensure that you fully comprehend the associated costs.

See if NHS Continuing Healthcare will pay for the costs

NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is a package of care provided by the NHS to those with ongoing healthcare needs as a result of a disability, disease, or accident. This may involve physical and/or mental health requirements, as well as complex social and nursing care demands.

Adults of any age may receive CHC in a variety of settings, including at home or in a nursing facility. Who is eligible for NHS CHC depends on an individual’s evaluated needs and Primary Care Trust established eligibility criteria (PCT).

To obtain CHC funding, you must meet the eligibility requirements of your PCT. If you believe you qualify, you should contact your primary care physician (PCP) or local PCT, who will assess your eligibility and advise you on the available funding.

NHS Continuing Healthcare can give financial assistance for the expenses of care and other related services if you qualify. This may include access to hospital care, respite stays, and homecare services.

It is important to note, however, that CHC money does not cover all healthcare expenditures; if you require more assistance, you should still investigate private health insurance and other sources of funding.

For those in need of long-term care and support, NHS Continuing Healthcare can be a lifeline.

care home fees

How much will the council pay towards a care home?

The amount of money that a local council will pay towards care home fees depends on each person’s individual circumstances. It is important to note that if you have assets or savings over a certain threshold, you may be expected to contribute to your own care costs. In England, this threshold is currently set at £23,250.

Local authorities have different policies in place for funding long-term care homes, which will vary depending on where you live. Generally speaking, your local authority should provide some assistance with paying for residential or nursing home care, although they don’t necessarily have to cover the entire cost.

Councils assess applications for funding using a “means test”. This looks at your income and assets and any other financial help you might receive. It also considers how much care you need and the type of care home you’ll be living in. If you have more than £23,250 in savings and assets (excluding your house), then it’s likely that you won’t qualify for any local authority assistance.

The amount the council will pay towards care homes fees also depends on the home’s cost. Every local authority has different limits on what they can contribute, so if the cost of your chosen home is above this limit, then there may be an additional bill to cover the difference.

What is the savings threshold for care home fees?

There is a personal savings threshold for care homes fees in the UK.

If you live in either England or Northern Ireland and have capital valued at less than £14,250 (based on 2019/20 rates), you will be entitled to maximum financial help and support. In effect, this means full local authority funding.

Anyone receiving full local authority funding will have to contribute all of their income (including benefits, which they must claim) to the local council, except for the personal expense allowance.

If you have between £14,250 and £23,250 in capital, you have to pay towards your fees.

You will have to pay £1 for every £250 of your savings between £14,250 and £23,250. This is known as ‘tariff income‘. You will also need to contribute all of your income towards the fees, except for the personal expenses allowance.

As explained above, the personal savings threshold is something you need to consider. If you have capital of more than the savings threshold then you will need to use that capital to pay the full cost of the care you need.

Does the savings threshold for care fees differ depending on where I live in the UK?

The savings threshold for care costs differs depending on which part of the country you live in:

  • England £23,250
  • Wales £24,000 for home care or £50,000 for care homes
  • Scotland £28,000
  • Northern Ireland £23,25

What savings count towards the £23,250 when assessing for the costs of care homes?

When your local council assesses you to see if paying for care is your responsibility, it will look to include things such as:

  • The value of your property – although this is excluded if your partner, a close relative, or any young dependents still live there.
  • The value of any private and state pensions.
  • The value of your savings, as well as any interest you earn from those savings.
  • Some benefits like Pension Credit, Attendance Allowance, or the care component of Disability Living Allowance.

What if I have savings GREATER than £23,250

If you have been assessed as having more in savings than the £23,250 threshold, then you will be responsible for paying for the care you need. 

You will be classed as a self funder, and will be expected to pay for the full cost of your care from your savings and assets.

However, there are some alternative ways of meeting your care costs. For example, you might consider equity release, an immediate care annuity, or NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding. 

You should speak to an independent financial advisor if you have any questions about how these alternatives could help you with care home payments in your individual financial circumstances.

What happens if I give away my assets so I have less than £23,250?

If you give away some of your assets as a gift, say to your children, and then look to claim assistance from your local council, they may well say that you have done this deliberately to avoid paying for your care costs.

This is called ‘self-deprivation of assets’ and the local council may well undertake your means test including the value of assets that you gave away. So, you may be expected to pay more for the cost of care than you can afford if you try to intentionally reduce your assets.

This is a complicated area but doesn’t mean you cannot pass what you have to family and friends, as long as you do so while you are still fit and healthy and cannot reasonably be expected to know that you will have to pay for your care in the near future. There is no limit to how far back the council can look when conducting your means test.

If you are interested in protecting your wealth then you may also be able to do so by putting them into a trust.  The three most popular types are:

  • Protective Property Trusts – They allow you to save a portion of your property to pass on to loved ones. They are also known as ‘Property Trust wills’
  • Life Interest Trusts – Allows you to allocate a beneficiary (usually yourself and/or a spouse or wider family member) who then has the legal right to receive income from or use a property named in the trust
  • Interest in Possession Trusts – It’s a trust fund set up to entitle the beneficiary of the trust to any income as soon as it is produced.  They are very similar to Life Interest Trusts.
how much will local authority pay for care home

How much will local authority pay for care home?

The amount of support changes between local authorities and the type of care you need. 

If you have been told that the local authority will help pay towards the cost of care, then they will also tell you how much they are willing to pay towards the cost of your residential care home.

As part of your care needs and financial assessment, your local authority will then arrange a suitable residential care home or nursing care home for you. The care home placement they select will depend on how much the council is willing to contribute to your care costs.

Can I move into a more expensive care home than the one my local authority suggests?

Paying for care means that you have some discretion over where you go. If you are not happy with the accommodation your council has chosen, you can find an alternative care home place.

You can choose to move into a nursing care home even if it is more expensive than what your local council will pay for care. More expensive homes tend to have a higher staff to residents ratio, nicer meals, and more comfortable surroundings.

However, you will need to pay the difference between your council funding and what your choice of residential care home costs.

For example, if your local authority will only pay £500 each week but the home you have chosen is £700, then you will need to arrange for someone to pay the additional £200 in care fees.

You will not be able to afford to pay this if your assets are less than £23,250. The additional amount is usually paid by a third party (usually by a friend or relatives). It is called a ‘third party contribution’ or ‘top up fee’.

how much does a care home cost

In what circumstances would local authority funding increase?

Your local council might increase the amount it’s willing to pay if:

  • You develop needs that can only be met in a more expensive, specialist home. For example, dementia care is more expensive than other types of nursing care.
  • You need to relocate to a more expensive area of the UK in order to be closer to your family. For example, the cost of nursing homes in the North West of England is much cheaper than in the South East.
  • The council may also pay more for people who were self funders and have recently become authority funded after a new needs assessment. They will only do this in situations where the resident cannot be moved to a cheaper care provider for health reasons.
  • The amount of funding may also increase if the council can only find you a suitable place in a care home that charges more than they were originally willing to pay. For example, if only one home in your local area meets your care needs and its cost is higher than anticipated.

How can I pay for my care home charges?

It is really important that you first ensure you are getting all the support, benefits (eg. attendance allowance) and credits that you are entitled to, as older people can also receive specific, age-related support.

You then need to ensure that you look at all your wealth and savings and think carefully about how you can use them in the most efficient way.

There are a number of ways people pay for the cost of their care home:

– Buy a Care Annuity

– Use a deferred payment agreement – This is where your Local Authority effectively pays for your care and levies a cost against your home

Do dementia sufferers have to pay care home fees?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The UK government requires people with dementia who need care in a residential home to pay for their own accommodation costs. Depending on the individual’s circumstances, they may have to pay all of the fees or they may be eligible for support with dementia care home fees.

The government does provide some help with care home fees for dementia patients. Some dementia patients may be eligible for financial assistance from their local council in the form of a means-tested contribution towards their nursing home fees, based on their income and capital assets. This approach is known as “Continuing Healthcare” in England.

Different methods exist in Scotland and Wales for determining eligibility for financing and contributions towards nursing home fees.

Depending on where they live in the United Kingdom, individuals will be eligible for supplementary benefits to assist with personal care costs.

How much is a dementia care home?

The cost of a dementia care home can vary based on several factors. Dementia care costs typically reflect the specialized care and support required for individuals with dementia. The expenses associated with care home costs for dementia patients depend on the level of care needed, the location, and the specific services provided by the care home. On average, dementia care home costs can range from £600 to £1,500 per week in the UK. However, it’s important to note that these figures are approximate and can vary significantly.

What is the average time in care home with dementia?

The average time spent in a care home with dementia can vary depending on individual circumstances. Factors such as the progression of dementia, the level of care needed, and personal preferences can influence the duration of stay and therefore the average dementia care home fees.

Some individuals may require long-term care, while others may only need short-term or respite care. Each person’s journey through dementia is unique, and it’s crucial to consider the specific needs and preferences when planning for dementia care home costs and the duration of stay.

How can I find out more about care home funding for dementia patients?

If you’re looking to gather more information about care home funding specifically for dementia patients, several resources are available to assist you. One effective approach is to contact your local authorities or social services departments, as they can provide valuable guidance and insights regarding care home fees for dementia patients, as well as information on potential funding options.

Additionally, reaching out to organisations specialising in dementia care, such as Alzheimer’s Society or Age UK, can offer valuable support and advice on navigating care home costs for dementia patients.

These organisations often have dedicated helplines or online resources that provide comprehensive information on funding options, eligibility criteria, and financial assistance programmes tailored to individuals with dementia.


How can I avoid paying care home fees?

By planning your finances early and efficiently, you can mitigate some of the impacts.

If you do your planning early enough, while you are still healthy and are not anticipating needing to pay for nursing care soon, it may also be possible to use a trust to transfer ownership of your home. Therefore, your home would not be counted towards the cost of your care.

Read our section on how to avoid care homes costs if this is of interest. We would strongly suggest you take professional advice on care home fees if you are looking at this route.

Another option to consider may be getting respite care.  This means that if you are caring for someone, you can get a carer to come and take your place for a short while.  You can read about respite care and costs on this website. This could be cheaper than putting someone in a care home full time.

care costs calculator

Will I have to sell my house to pay for care?

Depending on your situation, you might need to consider selling your home.

However, each individual’s circumstance is unique.

In England, there is a limit on how much you can be requested to contribute to your care costs.

This implies that if your total assets, including the value of any property you own, are less than £23,250, you will not be required to contribute to the cost of your care.

If your assets exceed this threshold, you may be required to contribute to your care costs, but it is doubtful that you will be required to sell your home.

Depending on where you live in England and the type of support services or housing you require, local authorities may be able to assist you financially with some or all of your care costs.

You may also qualify for various grants, bonuses, and tax credits.

It is crucial to understand that the worth of your property will not typically be factored into the calculation of how much you must pay towards your care costs.

This implies you can keep your home even if you must enter a facility for residential care.

If you reside in England and are concerned about paying for care, you should seek advice from an independent financial consultant or contact your local council, which should be able to give you with additional information about the assistance that may be available to you.

Is there an alternative to going into a care home?

An alternative option to consider is receiving care in the home from a home care services. This means that you stay in your own house and you can have younger and older people come and look after you there (depending on your age of course).

This is increasingly becoming a popular option as this is much cheaper than going in to care home and allows you to remain in an environment where you are comfortable and familiar.

You can read more about live in care here. In our view, this type of care will take over from residential care, just as it brings a better experience for the person needing care.

If you do decide that care at home is a better option than there are a number of things that you can do to make your life much more comfortable.  For example, the first thing that older people often do is get themselves a more comfortable chair.

Do I have other care funding options available if I receive care at home instead of going to a care home?

Yes. If you are considering receiving domiciliary care, then one further funding option  to consider would be releasing equity

The reason why schemes which provide funding for residential care are popular, and in particular ‘Lifetime Mortgages‘, Drawdown Lifetime Mortgages and Home Reversion Plans, is because they:

a) allow you to stay at home

b) allow you to access cash tax-free from your home

c) allow you to use the money to modify your home to allow you to continue to live comfortably at home

Is there an alternative to going into a care home?

An alternative option to consider is receiving care in the home from home care services. This means that you stay in your own house and you can have people come and look after you there.

This is increasingly becoming a popular option with older people. Home care is much cheaper than moving into residential care, and it allows you to remain in an environment where you are comfortable and familiar.

You can read more about live-in care here. In our view, this type of care will take over from residential care, just as it brings a better experience for the person needing care.

If you do decide that care at home is a better option, then there are a number of things that you can do to improve your quality of life.  For example, the first thing that older people often do is get themselves a more comfortable chair.

Do I have other care funding options available if I receive care at home instead of going to a care home?

Yes. If you are considering receiving domiciliary care, then one further funding option to consider would be releasing equity.

The reason why these schemes are popular, and in particular Lifetime MortgagesDrawdown Lifetime Mortgages and Home Reversion Plans, is because they:

  1. a) allow you to stay at home
  2. b) allow you to unlock tax-free cash lump sum from your home
  3. c) allow you to use the money to make home adaptations and live more comfortably

Care home charges in Scotland

How much do care homes cost in Scotland?

The cost of care homes in Scotland can vary depending on several factors. The average cost of care home in Scotland is between £700 and £1,500 a week.

It’s crucial to remember that these statistics are approximations and may change depending on the location, kind of care facility, desired degree of care, and other services offered. For specialised care, such as dementia care or nursing care, certain care facilities may demand greater costs.

Research and comparison of various care facilities are essential, considering cost and care quality. In addition, there might be ways to get financial support to offset the price of care facilities in Scotland. To investigate potential financial help alternatives, it is advisable to speak with local authorities or seek advice from a financial counsellor.

How much can you keep before paying for care in Scotland?

In Scotland, the local authority conducts a financial assessment to decide how much you may keep before paying for care.

Your contribution towards care costs will be calculated based on your income, savings, and assets. The precise limits and regulations can change, but as of the cutoff date in September 2021, if you have funds and assets worth less than £28,500, they won’t be included for determining your care costs.

You could have to pay for your care if your assets and savings are more than this limit. The standards and regulations for paying for care in Scotland, however, may have changed, so it’s vital to keep in mind that these numbers may have changed.

It is therefore advised to speak with local authorities or seek counsel from a financial expert to receive the most recent information.

How much is personal care allowance in Scotland?

People in Scotland are entitled to a Personal Care Allowance if they get personal care at home or in a nursing home. In Scotland, the Personal Care Allowance was £193 per week as of September 2021.

This payment is meant to assist in covering the cost of personal care services, including assistance with dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. It is important to note that this allowance is distinct from other financial assistance programmes and benefits and is intended to help people with their personal care requirements.

To get the most accurate and current information about the Personal Care Allowance in Scotland, it is advised to speak with local authorities or seek guidance from appropriate organisations.

However, please be aware that policies and benefit amounts may have changed since my previous update.


Meet the author

Rob Atherton

Rob Atherton

Rob writes and edits the content produced by the rest of the team. He has a degree in History from Leeds University and has producing, reviewing and editing the site since 2016

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