Looking for home care costs in your area?
Figuring out how to pay for care at home or home help services?
If you live in England arranging care at home (also known as in-home care, home care, or domiciliary care) can be a cost-effective option. This is when a carer will come to your home for a set period of time or even a few times throughout the day (commonly as a ‘visit’). The carer will be able to support you with whatever daily living task(s) you may need assistance with, such as cooking and cleaning, or taking medicine.
Charged on an hourly basis, care at home in England tends to be more affordable than the fees for living in a care home.
Your uniquely tailored 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
There’s no universal pricing structure for care at home across England, each local authority sets its own local funding rates to support eligible care seekers.
(If you’re not looking for home help services in England, we’ve also prepared a guide to help you navigate in home care costs in Scotland.)
How much does care at home cost in England?
Thee NHS says a typical hourly rate for care at home is £20 per hour, but pricing will vary by location and requirements.
This includes help with:
- washing and dressing
- getting in and out of bed
- taking medication
- meal preparation
Live-in home care (when a trained carer lives in the home of the person needing care) can start from around £650 per week. For more complex needs, that charge could reach approximately £1,600 per week.
But what if you require 24/7 care at home? Round-the-clock care can easily exceed £150,000 per year, on average. If that’s the case, you may decide that residential care is more cost-effective.
That being the case, you may still be able to pay less for a live-in carer. Some introductory agencies, who connect you with self-employed carers, can cost significantly less.
Are you comparing the cost of in-home care with the cost of a care home? We can help — click here to learn more about care home fees in England.
Local authority funding for care in your own home
When thinking about paying for care at home, you should check if you qualify for funding. This starts by arranging a care needs assessment through your local authority. The assessment evaluates your daily support requirements. It’s designed to reveal whether your needs can be accommodated at home.
Don’t forget: you must do the assessment prior to agreeing any at-home care contracts. If you don’t, and proceed to arrange care, you may lose out on local authority funding.
Once an at-home care plan has been agreed, the local authority will then arrange a means testing assessment to determine if you qualify for funding. When applying for care at home funding, the means test excludes your home’s value. This differs from the means assessment used for residential care homes: in this case, home value is considered.
According to Which? Elderly Care, residents of England should qualify for full support if they own less than £14,250 in savings and assets.
However, if you receive full funding, you’ll be expected to contribute the majority of your income (including benefits) to the local authority. Your personal expenses allowance is excluded.
If you have between £14,250 and £23,250 in capital, you’ll need to contribute £1 for every £250 of your savings between that amount, on a weekly basis, towards your care expenses. You’ll also be required to contribute the majority of your income, excluding your personal expenses allowance.
If you have capital of more than £23,250, you’ll be required to use this to pay the entire cost of your care at home. Equally, if you have less than £23,250 in capital, but a weekly income considered high enough to cover the cost of your domiciliary care, you’ll be responsible for paying the full cost.
How do I access free care and support in England?
Regardless of your income, you may be entitled to some free care and support. For example, you could qualify for:
- Attendance Allowance or other benefits
- Specialist equipment or home adaptations costing less than £1,000
- NHS care in the form of: continuing healthcare, nursing care, or post-discharge care
If you’ve reached the stage where you’re thinking about paying for care at home, you may also benefit from advice on how to broach the subject of care. From helping to arrange funding, to helping your loved one prepare for the transition, each stage of the care journey can be made a bit easier thanks to your support and compassion.
How much does it cost to employ care at home in England?
The NHS says a typical hourly rate for care at home in England is £20 per hour, but pricing will vary by location and requirements. This works out to £14,500 per year, based on 14 hours of care per week.
Can I claim local authority funding for care at home?
To check what funding you qualify for, you need to contact your local authority for a care needs assessment. Once a care at home plan has been agreed, the local authority will then arrange a means testing assessment to determine if you qualify for funding. When applying for care at home funding, the means test excludes your home’s value.
Find care at home costs in your area
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, including prices, 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.