The average cost of a care home has soared to above £30,000 for the first time, new research has found.
The five-year study by Prestige Nursing + Care found that average care home costs for a single room in a UK residential home had risen by 5.2% to £30,296, more than double an average pensioner’s income of £14,456. Pensioner incomes grew by just 1.1% over the past year.
The annual growth rate of care costs has more than doubled from the 2.5% growth rate in 2015. The current growth rate is far higher than inflation (0.3%), and the fastest rise since Prestige began collecting data in 2012.
Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing + Care, said: “It is particularly alarming that care home costs have risen almost ten times as much as pensioner incomes in real terms, with the result that older people will find the challenge of paying for care even more out of their reach.
“Cuts to social care now also mean the vast majority of people will have to find the funds to cover the cost of care themselves, which makes it more important than ever that people start to plan their care in advance. The lack of awareness of these issues, and appetite to tackle them, illustrates the need for a sensible and mature debate on the value our society places on care.”
Pensioners are currently short by £290 a week if they require residential care, the research found.
The annual shortfall between care costs and pensioner income is £16,470 (£317 a week). This means the average pensioner’s income would pay for less than six months of care with research from Saga showing the average stay in a residential home is two and a half years.
London is the region with the most expensive care homes (averaging £38,896 per year) and has also the highest rise in care costs (19%).
The capital has also seen its income shortfall and cost increases most over the past year (32% or £5,408). The East of England is the region with the greatest care cost vs income gap at £22,828 an increase of 21% (£4,004) over the past year.