The 19th International Stress Awareness Day held on the 1st of November celebrates helping people to beat stress. The theme this year is “Speak Up and Speak Out About Stress”. So we thought we’d provide you help around  what can be one of the most stressful elements of care, the finance.

Below we address some of the more frequent worries around this topic. In the near future we’ll provide more content on this, but hopefully you find these answers useful on your care journey.

What is a care needs assessment?

It’s not something to worry about, it’s a simple assessment carried out by your local authority or health professional  to determine your individual care and support needs, to decide the best way to help you and move forward.

What exactly is a means test?

It’s an assessment made by your local authority, to determine whether you’re able to afford your own care and whether or not your situation qualifies financial help and assistance from your local council.  

I own my property, will this affect my care home costs?

If you own your own home, the property’s value, along with your savings and income will be factored into your means assessment.

How much will I have to pay for care in England?

If you live in England, the below information applies to both paying for a care home as well as care within your home. It will fall to your local authority to calculate how much you will have to personally contribute as well as the overall cost of your individual care. Factors that will be considered include the specific care needed and location, but the first step is always to have a care needs assessment. If it’s determined that you need a care home a means test will then be taken, which will conclude whether you can receive any financial help from your local authority.

When it comes to care home fees, there’s a national standard for deciding who’s responsible for covering the costs. In England, there are two threshold limits: lower threshold and upper threshold.

Lower threshold: if your capital makes you below the lower threshold, your local authority will pay for some of your care. Your income will be used to pay for the rest of your care so long you are left with a minimum amount, termed as a ‘personal expenses allowance’ (PEA).

Upper threshold: when the financial assessment shows your capital makes over the upper threshold, you have to pay for own care.

Should you have a substantial healthcare need the NHS may pay a part of the cost and for instance, if you are suitable for NHS continuing healthcare your place in a care home would be free.

To be guided through this full process and the steps you’ll need to take into account call Citizen’s Advice on: 03454 04 05 06

For in-depth help on this we highly suggest the paying care home fees fact sheet Independence Age has created:


How much will I have to pay for a care in Scotland?

When it comes to paying for a care home in Scotland the amount will be different per person but if you’re going to go into a care home you’ll need to make some financial contribution. As in England, first you’ll have a care needs assessment carried out by your local authority, to determine your level of need. Mostly likely followed by a financial assessment (means test). The main difference in Scotland is that the personal care element of your care home fees will be paid. Exactly how much you’ll have to pay for the other elements will be determined by factors including which care home you choose along with how much capital you have.

If you’re in need of care within your own home, anyone living in Scotland over the age of 65 and deemed (through care assessment) in need of personal care receives it free of charge.

To be guided through this full process and the steps you’ll need to take into account call Citizen’s Advice Scotland on: 0808 800 9060

Alternatively, we  suggest Care Information Scotland: 0800 011 3200

Age Scotland also have useful information and fact sheets on their website you’re likely to find highly useful:


How do I pay for care in Wales and Northern Ireland?

It’s essentially the same as for England, but to see the slight differences in detail we recommend this website:


I only require a temporarily stay in a care home, is that a possibility?

Yes, people regularly stay for a trial period to decide whether they would be happy there. Others visit only for a short time to allow their carer or loved one a rest. The fee calculations in this instance will be different as it will be assumed you will return to your own home after a short stay. You’ll need to discuss the costs with the individual care home you select.


Are there any kinds of care that are free?

Yes, there are some types of care that are always free, these include:

  • Support provided under the mental health act 1983, section 117
  • NHS services
  • Any services the authorities have a duty to provide


When it comes to Dementia, will the local authorities help with care fees?

In some cases, a person with dementia may well be entitled to receive NHS continuing healthcare or local authority funding. It’s highly likely this funding will cover the full cost of someone’s care, if they’re deemed to have a healthcare need, whether in their own home or in a care home.


If you are looking for care, Care Sourcer’s free service offers a searchable directory of local care agencies. If you need care urgently, our team of care experts are also available by telephone to guide you through the process. 

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