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In 2016, the average weekly cost of a room in a residential home in the UK was £600, and a room in a nursing home costed £726. However, these are only average figures, so you or your relative could be looking at considerably higher figures depending on where you live.

On this page we look at:

1. Highest and lowest care home fees
2. How much a self-funder might pay in care home fees
3. Local authority-funded care
4. The care cap as a part of the Care Act

Highest and lowest care home fees

Care home costs vary widely across the UK depending on where your relative lives and what type of care he or she requires. The fee your relative has to pay also depends on whether their room is single or shared, as well as the level of your relative's needs. For example, a care home is quite likely to add to their fee for someone who has dementia as the level of care and support that person requires is likely to be quite high. As you might expect, the highest fee rates are in the south east of England and the lowest are in north England and Northern Ireland.

Research by Knight Frank for the 2015-16 financial year (2016 Care homes trading performance review, published October 2016) indicated that the average weekly fee for a nursing home in the south east was £897, whereas in the north east the average fee was £566. Taking the figures as a whole across the UK, the average weekly nursing home fee is therefore approximately £726.

Residential care home fees are consistently lower to match the lower level of care that is given. In 2015-16, the UK average weekly fee for a care home that provides personal care was £600.

If you're thinking about choosing a care home, use our Care services directory, where you can search for care homes across the UK.

The average care home costs across the UK

Here we show the average fees by region for privately and publicly-funded rooms combined, as researched by Knight Frank for their 2016 Care homes trading performance review.
 

RegionCost of nursing care/week   Cost of residential care/week
East Midlands£678£595
East of England£740£609
Greater London  £856£723
North East£566£544
North West£623£539
Northern Ireland£611£530
Scotland£708£632
South east£897£727
South west£810£713
Wales£651£565
West Midlands£755£599
Yorkshire and Humber£623£530

 

If you aren't sure which region a county might be in, we have divided the counties in England into alphabetical order. Click through the boxes below to find the county on the left and region on the right.

How much might a self-funder pay in care home fees?

Armed with these average weekly figures, it's easy to see that someone who is paying all their own fees will quickly start amassing a sizeable bill. If your father lives in Northumberland and he is moving into a residential care home, the chances are he will be paying around £28,000 in fees each year. If he lives in Kent and is moving into a nursing home, the fees are likely to be closer to £47,000 each year.

Then take into account that the average length of time that older people stay in a care home is a little over two-and-a-half years and the potential bill for funding for care in old age averages at a daunting £116,675.

Local authority-funded care

However, fewer than half of people in a care home (an estimated 44%) are fully self-funded, so don’t assume that your relative will be paying all of their own fees. We explain when local authorities pay the fees for a care home and when the NHS might step in in Paying for care.

Get a Will from Which?

If you are involved with helping your relative manage his or her financial affairs, perhaps now is a good time to be thinking of making a will for yourself if you haven’t done so already. Make sure your treasured possessions go to the ones you love – see how we can help at Which? Wills.

See also Getting local authority funding for a care home where we explain the steps you need to take to get a financial assessment, the thresholds that are applied for local authority funding, and how capital and income are assessed.

The care cap as a part of the Care Act

On 1 April 2016 the government had planned to implement a cap on the amount of money everyone would pay for the cost of care over the course of their lifetime. This was set to be at £72,000. However, in July 2015 the government announced that the plans would be delayed to April 2020.

The cost of care therefore remains the responsibility of the local authorities for people whose income and assets are assessed as being beneath the threshold and those people who are self-funding a care home will continue to pay all their fees.

Which? guide to helping loved ones in later life

If you are looking for ways to help a relative stay living at home for longer, or need to find out about the different care options available, this downloadable guide explains your choices and how to find out more. It offers an introduction to choosing sheltered or residential care, plus advice on choosing the best products to aid independent living.

More information

Page last reviewed: February 2017
Next review due: October 2017