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In 2016-17, the average weekly cost of a room in a residential home in the UK was £600, and a room in a nursing home cost £841. However, these are only average figures, so you or your relative could be looking at considerably higher or lower figures depending on where you live.

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1. The average care home costs across the UK
2. Highest and lowest care home fees
3. How much a self-funder might pay in care home fees
4. Local authority-funded care

The average care home costs across the UK

Here we show the average care home fees in the UK during the financial year of 2016-17. The fees are for privately and publicly-funded rooms combined in for-profit homes for older people and those with dementia (aged 65 plus) and divided by region. (Researched by LaingBuisson for their Care of older people UK market report, 28th edition, published May 2017.)

RegionCost of nursing care/week   Cost of residential care/week
East Midlands£725£578
East of England£986£673
Greater London  £949£741
North East£666£563
North West£766£511
Northern Ireland£670£516
South east£1,041£702
South west£927£655
West Midlands£837£573
Yorkshire and Humber£755£546


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.

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 east England and Northern Ireland.

Research by Laing Buisson for their Care of older people UK market report (28th edition, published May 2017) indicates that the average weekly fee for a nursing home in the south east for the financial year 2016-17 was £1,041, whereas in the north east the average fee was £666. Taking the figures as a whole across the UK, the average weekly nursing home fee was £841.

Residential care home fees are consistently lower to match the lower level of care that is given. In 2016-17, 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.

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

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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, especially as the figures quoted here include fees for rooms that are funded by local authorities, who consistently pay less to care homes than do self-funders. It’s also worth being aware that serious conditions, including dementia, can result in even higher costs, whether the person receiving care is in a care home or a nursing home. 

If your father lives in Northumberland and he is moving into a residential care home, the chances are he will be paying around £29,000 in fees each year. If he lives in Kent and is moving into a nursing home, the fees are likely to be closer to £54,000 each year.

Then take into account that the average length of time that older people stay in a care home is about two years, and the potential bill for funding for care in old age in a nursing home averages at a daunting £87,500.

Local authority-funded care

However, fewer than half of people in a care home (an estimated 41%) 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.

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.

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.

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Page last reviewed: September 2017