Up to half the average home value is spent on the typical care home stay, according to research.
The analysis by insurance company Royal London reveals that the typical care home resident faces bills of between £50,000 and £93,000.
Debbie Kennedy, Head of Protection at Royal London, 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.
“Even an average stay in a care home can eat up half the value of your home, depending where you live in the country.
“The whole system is a lottery and we need to find better ways of supporting people to cope with these large and unpredictable bills.”
Care home costs as a high proportion of home value were highest in the north east where the average house value is under £129,000.
Here an average30 month stay in a residential home at £554 per week would take up 56% of the value of the home.
Care home costs took the lowest share of house value in London at 18% where the average home costs £484,000.
Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London, said: “Successive governments have failed to grasp the nettle when it comes to care costs.
“For over 20 years we have had a series of Royal Commissions, expert reports and policy papers, but little has changed.
“With an ageing population, more and more of us will have loved ones needing long-term care, and we could see a large part of the value of our family home taken up in care costs.
“The government’s plans for yet another discussion document on social care later this year are far too slow. We need urgent action to address this funding challenge.”
The government has announced it will be releasing a Green Paper on the long term financing of social care later this year (see BREAKING NEWS: Chancellor provides £2bn additional social care funding).
*In Scotland, the Scottish government will meet the part of care home bills relating to social care, and so the proportion of the value of a typical home taken up will be lower than in the rest of the UK. The figure shown here is net of the social care contribution from the Scottish government.