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Care home bills can use up half the value of a house: Typical stay can cost between £50,000 and £93,000

  • Around 160,000 people living in care homes have to pay the bills themselves 
  • Residents who have assets of above £23,250 have to give up their home
  • People who stay long-term are more likely to spend the equivalent of a house 

The cost of living in a care home is likely to swallow up half the value of a family house, say researchers.

They found the bills for a typical stay in a home were likely to be between £50,000 and £93,000 – and that the total would mean a loss of between a fifth and a half of the value of an average house.

The estimates, for an insurance firm, measure a family’s loss from the inheritance they would otherwise have expected when an elderly relative needs to go into a care home.

The cost of living in a care home is likely to range between £50,000 and £93,000 - up to half the value of an average home. Around 160,000 pensioners have to pay their own bills (file photo)

Around 160,000 people living in care homes have to pay their own bills, and in many cases their property is sold or pledged to meet the costs.

The sacrifice of a house is demanded of care residents who have assets or savings above £23,250 – a threshold that means all homeowners must pay their own care home bills.

The analysis for Royal London showed, on average, someone who goes into a care home lives there for two-and-a-half years, paying bills that vary from £554 a week in the North East to more than £700 in the South East.

In the North East, care home bills can cost as much as 56 per cent of the price of a home. But in London, where the average house price is almost £500,000, bills are only 17.9 per cent of a house

The price of that stay in an average home in the North East would take up 56 per cent of the value of a typical house. In the South East the price would be just under a third of the value of an average house.

Researchers said that in some cases residents live in care homes for longer periods, and one in ten stay for six-and-a-half years. Long-term residents are in many cases likely to spend the entire value of their house and more.

The estimates have been drawn up at a time when Theresa May’s government is struggling with the growing difficulty of paying for social care for rising numbers of older people.

Royal London’s Debbie Kennedy said: ‘These figures are a shocking reminder of the huge costs which growing numbers of us will face if we need residential care later in life … The whole system is a lottery and we need to find better ways of supporting people to cope with these large and unpredictable bills.’

Steve Webb, a former Liberal Democrat pensions minister, who now works for the insurance firm, said: ‘Successive governments have failed to grasp the nettle when it comes to care costs … The Government’s plans for yet another discussion document on social care later this year are far too slow.’

The sacrifice of a house is demanded of care residents who have assets or savings above £23,250 (file photo)

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