If your relative doesn’t qualify for funding, then this page looks at how he or she might raise cash to pay for domiciliary care at home from their income or their property.

On this page we give you information you about:

1. When might your relative have to pay for their care at home?
2. How much do domiciliary care agencies charge?
3. Live-in care: what does it cost?
4. Paying for care at home

When might your relative have to pay for their care at home?

Your relative will have to arrange and pay for their own care at home if they:

  • have savings and assets in excess of the capital limits for care (see Getting local authority funding for care at home for more information)
  • don’t qualify for council funding because their needs weren’t found to be sufficient following the needs assessment
  • are eligible for funding, but they have too much money. They could still have services arranged by the local authority, but they would be charged the full price of the care.

Even if your relative chooses not to apply for financial support, it can be beneficial to get a needs assessment because it will help you and your relative to become aware of their needs, and the range of services available to meet them. It could also be important in the future if your relative’s needs should change. The assessment is free and will give your relative a good idea of what type of help is needed, together with what is available in the local area. The cost of care will depend on the level of support they need and where they live.

How much do domiciliary care agencies charge?

When it comes to finding out how much a self-funder could pay for domiciliary care, the picture isn’t a transparent one. There are no nationally published figures, but research by the UK Home Care Association (UKHCA) in 2015 (The Homecare Deficit report) shows that across the UK as a whole, local authorities were paying £13.66 per hour to home care agencies.

The UKHCA is the national professional association for home care providers. Their priorities are to promote the highest standards of care and to encourage training of homecare workers. They also work on behalf of home care agencies to support the social care workforce and, as such, recommend minimum prices for sustainable homecare which ensure adequate terms and conditions of employment. The purpose of the minimum price is to enable proper care for those people the agencies are looking after.

In the financial year 2016-17, the UKHCA recommends agencies charge a minimum price per hour of £16.70. However, depending on where your relative lives in the UK, the amount of money that your relative will be charged will vary; it will also be affected by the level of care that that he or she needs. The hourly rate could therefore be much more than £16.70 and will range up to £23 per hour.

Homecare organisations have to be registered with the UK’s regulators, who publicise the findings from their quality inspections on their websites. You can use our Care services directory to search for local domiciliary care providers, where we also give links to the inspection reports.

Live-in care: what does it cost?

Previously little-known, but actually long-established, 24/7 live-in homecare is becoming an increasingly popular choice for people needing full-time care and we cover this in detail on our Live-in care pages.

When looking at the fees charged by live-in care providers, it is important to note there are two distinct models of live-in care and costs vary depending on which of these options you choose. These are:

  • Introductory care service: where carers are self-employed and responsible for paying their own tax and NI contributions. They are matched according to need following a meeting with experienced care consultants working for introductory care agencies. The carers are then paid directly by their clients and / or their families.
  • Fully managed service: the company providing the care employs and trains its carers directly. It will oversee and organise all aspects of care arrangements both day-to-day and long-term, from initial expert client and risk assessment and client-carer matching, through to comprehensive care plans, so the client or family don’t need to worry about a thing. These providers are regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

The service that you choose to work with will affect the price charged per week (but not where you live in the UK). The Live-in Homecare Information Hub has conducted a survey of live-in care fees across the UK (2015) as they are keen to be transparent about the costs of this type of care.

The survey shows that in 2015-16 care fees range from £600 per week for an introductory service through to £1,600 a week for a fully managed nursing service for people with more complex needs. However, most providers charge between £800 and £1,250 per week.

Paying for care at home

There are several ways that people might raise money to pay for their own care:

Your relative may also consider:

  • Downsizing: selling their current property and buying a smaller one could give your relative a lump sum to help pay for care. For more information, see Property downsizing.
  • Letting a room: if your relative has enough space, they might consider letting a room to a lodger. This can help raise extra money without the need to move house.
  • Equity release: if your relative owns their own home he or she might be able to use an equity release scheme to ‘unlock’ cash from the value of their property (see Equity release for more information).

Whichever option your relative is considering, they should seek advice from a qualified independent financial adviser with expertise in the field. This will help them to make the best use of their income and/or savings, and to budget effectively. For more advice on finding an IFA, see this page on the Which? website. The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) can also offer advice.

More information

Page last reviewed: 25 May 2016
Next review due: 31 January 2017

Which Ltd is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Which? Mortgage Advisers, Which? Insurance Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.