paying for live in cARE

Paying for live in care

Live in care is increasingly becoming a viable option for many people and couples needing care. But as with all types of care there is a cost attached.

The financial implications of organising care can understandably be worrying. At UK Care Guide we’re here to help – simplifying the ins and outs of sourcing and paying for live in care.

In this article we will explain what live in care costs, and how you can pay for it. You’ll learn about the financial benefits of live in care and some potential drawbacks you should be aware of.

Let’s begin with the cost of live in care.

What does live in care cost?

Generally speaking live in care is a cheaper alternative compared with residential care. This is because you won’t have additional overheads to pay, such as maintenance, the cost of a room and meals.

However it is understandably expensive – as you will have somebody looking after you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Live in care is a particularly beneficial option for couples who both have care needs. This is because two places in residential care would cost significantly more compared with having a live in carer to support both of you in your own home.
If you are currently accessing care at home several times a day, the step up to live in care may not be too high. But if you only need one or two visits you will see a significant difference in the costs attached.

Live in care costs naturally vary depending on your location, the person or agency you choose and the type of care you require. On average live in care costs between £800 and £1500 per week. This means that the yearly cost can total over £100,000.

Here is a short video that explains a little more about live in care costs.

How can I pay for live in care?

As is the case with any care option, it’s important to consider how you’ll pay for the care you need both now and in the long-term. This can be tricky, as it’s not always easy to know how long you’ll need care for, and how things might change over time.

One downside to live in care is the limited funding options available.

As live in care is classed as private, there is significantly less financial support available from your local authority. And because you are still living in your property it’s not possible to use the proceeds of a sale or ongoing rental fees to pay for care.

Despite this there are a number of ways you can finance live in care. These include:

1.  Savings and assets

Most people use their savings to pay for live in care.

You can also sell valuables to add to your fund – such as cars and antiques. This is easy and simple as you pay directly for the care and preserve the value of your property as inheritance for your loved ones. The only potential downside of this is the fact that you’re dealing with a finite sum of money.

This means that eventually your funds will run out. This isn’t a problem if you know that you only require live in care for a short period of time and can budget to cover this.

But if you’re hoping a for an indefinite long-term solution it’s important to consider the possibility that you will run out of money to pay for your care. In this instance you’d have to move out of your home and into a local authority approved care home.

You can read more about using your savings to pay for care here.

2.  Equity release

Some people choose to fund live in care through equity release.

This works well for those who don’t have sufficient savings or cash assets to cover the full cost of care. You may choose to release a small amount or a larger amount depending on your circumstances.

There are different types of equity release available (namely, Lifetime Mortgages and Home Reversion plans), so it’s important to explore each option carefully. Bear in mind that choosing equity release reduces the amount of inheritance you can leave and means you won’t be able to pass on your property to relatives.

Here is a useful video that explains how equity release works.

See how much you could get through equity release with our calculator

3.  Loans

Straightforward bank loans can be used to fund care in the short-term – but they will need to be paid back at a later date.

If you are planning on the funds being paid from your estate after your death you should discuss this with those responsible for executing your will. It is important that they aren’t left with debt or difficulties when you’re gone.

4.  Funds from relatives

In some cases family members are able to pay for your care, either partially or in full. If you feel comfortable in doing so you could discuss whether they’d be willing to contribute towards your care costs, and how much they can afford to pay.

Can I use benefits, pension or local authority funding towards the cost of live in care?

If you currently receive benefits or welfare payments of any kind such as PIP, Attendance Allowance or DLA, you may use the money towards funding live in care.

You may also be entitled to a Council Tax discount.

Pensions can be used towards the cost of care. It’s important to make sure that you are receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to. If you don’t you could lose out, as means tested payments are calculated on the assumption that you are receiving benefits.

Unfortunately there isn’t structured financial support available for live in care yet as is the case with residential care. Your local authority may contribute towards the cost, but these payments are eligibility and means tested and will not cover the total amount.

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Are there any financial downsides to live in care?

Although live in care is classed as more cost-effective compared with residential care, there are some potential downsides to consider from a financial perspective. These include:

1.  Loss of inheritance

When you opt for equity release as a way to pay for your care you will automatically reduce the amount you can pass on to family members. This also prevents you from leaving your property as inheritance.

Although you may want to leave something for your loved ones it’s important to prioritise your care needs, and make sure they are covered financially both now and in case things change in the future.

2.  Little financial support

If you move into a residential care home there are a number of options available to help you pay.

Your local authority will step in and offer financial support in the form of partial payments, full payment coverage or deferred payment. When you choose to access live in care at home the options are significantly reduced, which can be difficult for people who don’t have savings or assets to sell.

3.  Additional cost of home modifications

If you choose to stay in your home for a long time you may need to make modifications so that it is suitable for your needs.

This could involve having a downstairs toilet fitted, installing an accessible shower or purchasing a stairlift to help you get about. All these modifications cost money – and many can be expensive.

You’ll need to build these in to your overall budget for care if it’s likely your home needs to be altered in the future.

4.  Modifications for live in care

You will need to find a suitable private space for your live in carer to spend time alone in. If your house is in need of decoration or essential repairs you may need to spend money on doing up a room for them to live in. If your property is small finding and freeing up space could be problematic and costly.

It’s a good idea to sit down and assess every financial aspect of live in care in turn. Then you can obtain an overview that helps you decide if it is a suitable and viable option for you.

Making a rough calculation of the yearly cost, taking into account any current bills and outgoings will help. You can then work out a total estimate based on your prognosis and personal situation.

Where can I get more help and advice on the cost of live in care?

It’s really important to carefully consider the financial implications of care before making a decision.

Consult with family members and friends you trust.

You can also seek professional advice from a financial advisor if there are legal issues you want to address. Some financial advisors specialise in later life, so they can help you to structure your savings where necessary and offer impartial professional guidance. This is key if you are also concerned about inheritance.  

If you need more advice and support you can find plenty of resources here. There are also a number of charitable organisations including Age UK and Citizens Advice who will be happy to help.

Live in Care Cost Calculator

If you want to know what Live in Care would cost you, you can use the calculator, produced by Cera, below.

Some more videos that you will find useful

Here is a video that looks at what a live in carer does.

Here is a video that looks at the advantages of Live in Care.

Here is a video that looks at the disadvantages of Live in Care.

 Some other useful articles for you to read

How to Choose a Live in Carer

Live in Care v Care Home

Benefits of Prepaid Funeral Plans

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