The cost of paying for care varies depending on the type of care and where you live within the UK.

What is the first step to knowing how much care will cost?

To know what type of care is needed, the first step is to ask for a care needs assessment from the adult social services department of your local council (you can find your local council here). 

There is no cost for a care needs assessment. A care needs assessment may be carried out online, over the telephone, or face to face and the results will include recommendations about whether care is needed, and if so, what type of care.

These may include:

  • Residential or nursing care home
  • Care at home (domiciliary care), including live-in care
  • Respite care
  • Other care options 

See more information about the types of care services available for the elderly.

Who is eligible for local authority funding for care?

If the care needs assessment recommends that care is needed, a further financial assessment will be arranged to see if the local authority will pay towards the care.

However, you may not be entitled to help with the cost of care from your local authority if:

  • you have savings worth more than £23,250 in England and Northern Ireland, or £28,000 in Scotland
  • you own your own property and no partner or spouse will be remaining in the property (this only applies if you’re planning to move into a care home)

The local authority will also take income such as pensions and benefits into account. 

It is worth undertaking the financial assessment even if you think you don’t qualify for help, as you may still be entitled to some form of funding.

After the financial assessment you’ll be given a written record explaining what will be charged, how it was calculated, how often it will be charged, and if this charge is likely to increase in the future.

Read more information about the financial assessment.

How much does a care home cost?

A residential care home only has care staff, so it is appropriate for people who need assistance with their daily activities such as washing, dressing and meal preparation.

A nursing home is very like a residential care home, but the main difference is there are always trained nurses on duty for anyone who has an ongoing nursing/medical requirement. 

The table below gives a breakdown of average weekly residential and nursing care home costs for each part of the UK*: 


Residential care

Nursing care


Frail older


Frail older


North East





North West





Yorkshire and the Humber





East Midlands





West Midlands





East of England










South East





South West















Northern Ireland










* LaingBuisson for its Care of Older People UK market report, 29th edition, published May 2018

Find care home costs in your area

For real examples of the cost of care homes in your area, take a look at Care Sourcer’s searchable online directory of local care homes.

How much does care at home (domiciliary care) cost?

Charged on an hourly basis, care at home tends to be more affordable than living in a care home. 

Your care package may include care from one or both of these categories:

  • personal care: qualified care assistants provide support with washing, dressing, dining and socialising
  • nursing care: registered nurses provide support in the same areas, as well as with specialist medical requirements

The table below gives average prices paid for care at home during a sample week in April 2018*

South East


South West


East Midlands








Greater London


West Midlands


York & Humber 


North West


North East


Northern Ireland


* source: UKHCA Minimum Price for Homecare 2018
** Everyone in Scotland over the age of 65 is entitled to free personal care if they are assessed as requiring it and the local authority will pay £177 per week (new rate from April 1, 2019) directly to the care provider.

Costs on weekends and bank holidays may also vary.

Live-in care (when a trained carer lives in the home of the person needing care) can cost from around £650 per week. For more complex needs, that cost could reach approximately £1,600 per week.

Find care at home costs in your area

For real examples of the cost of care at home in your area, take a look at Care Sourcer’s searchable online directory of local care agencies

Accessing free care and support for care at home

Regardless of your income, you may be entitled to some free care and support. 

For example, you could qualify for:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Specialist equipment or home adaptations costing less than £1,000
  • NHS care in the form of: continuing healthcare, nursing care, or post-discharge care

Are you thinking about care?

Care packages can start very small – it can be as simple as coming around and having a cup of tea and a chat, helping with the shopping, or helping to tidy up. Read more about the different care types that are available.

Care Sourcer is an entirely free service to help you find all types of social care services, using a searchable online directory of local care agencies

If you need care urgently, our team of care experts are also available by telephone on freephone 0800 048 8618 to guide you through the process. 



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