Comparing the Cost of Care at Home, Sheltered Housing and Care Homes

Written by Active Minds on Wednesday the 6th of June 2018.


When a loved one gets older, you may start to notice that they struggle to care for themselves as well as they have previously been able to do. This can lead to them feeling isolated and frustrated, as well as causing concern for you and your family. During this time, it might become apparent that they need some extra care. A discussion may need to be had to decide the best level of care for your loved one, and if a move to sheltered housing or a care home is appropriate. These conversations can be incredibly difficult for the entire family, so it is important to have an idea about the different options available and the prices associated with each.

(Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to financial help. To find out more, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for free and impartial advice, or your local authority social services team)


Care at Home

Many people struggle with the idea of moving out of their home, a place they have loved and that gives them a sense of independence. However, it may not always be necessary to move your loved one out, as you can arrange to have carers visit them to help look after them. Alternately, you could move your loved one in with you, so you can become their carer.

In terms of cost, this is dependent on where you live and how much care your loved one will need. Some people will merely need slight adjustments to their home, perhaps a stair lift or easier access to their bath. However, you may decide that your loved one needs someone to come and check on them regularly; dress them, help feed them etc. If that is the case, then a basic care package is about 14 hours of care a week, which will cost around £11,000 per year. However, if your loved one needs full time care then the cost per year increases dramatically and can come to roughly £30,000 per year. Similarly, live-in care can rise to £150,000 per year.


Sheltered Housing

A good balance between care and independence, sheltered housing offers your loved one their own self-contained accommodation (generally flats or bungalows) but with the security of live-in wardens and a 24-hour alarm system for emergencies. Sheltered housing also helps a person socialise as they are amongst a community of other older residents.

Costs for sheltered housing will vary depending on location but will generally be between £300 and £700 per month. It is also important to take extras into account when budgeting, such as the 24-hour alarm system and on-site wardens.


Care Home

Residents of a care home will each be provided with live-in accommodation, including a bedroom and meals. Staff are on-hand to help provide personal care for each resident, washing, dressing etc, but do not provide nursing care, bar for short illnesses. Staff will also run regular activities for the residents. Some care homes are designed for residents with specific care needs, such as people with dementia. They will have an in-depth understanding of the disease and the care needed, as well as running care home dementia activities to help stimulate and engage residents.

Again, as with all things, price is dependent on location and services provided, with dementia-friendly care homes costing more. The average care home will be about £28, 500 per year.


Nursing Home

Similar to a care home, but with the addition of qualified nurses on-hand to provide medical care for people with long-running medical conditions.

Due to the higher levels of care involved in a nursing home, the average nursing home will cost around £37,5000 per year.