It is a sad fact that getting older in the UK can become expensive. As we age, we naturally need more help and healthcare becomes more important if you want to stay in good shape. Help can consist of a home carer, helping with household chores, meals, or basics such as getting dressed. For those needing a higher level of care, residential care homes are an option, with nursing homes being reserved for those who need the most help.
Depending on personal circumstances, some of this can come at a considerable cost to families – home care and places at care homes are not generally available free of charge except for the most vulnerable and those without any financial capital.
In addition to professional care being expensive for many families, there is the additional worry of trust. Whilst professional care generally has a good reputation in the UK, many families struggle with the thought of relatives being in the care of non-family members.
Another, more recent worry is the effect the global Covid-19 pandemic has had on care homes with many families being unable to see their loved ones for fear of spreading the virus.
Taking all of this into account, many families are keen to explore other options when it comes to caring for elderly relatives.
What are the alternatives?
The Cost Of Care
Care homes are a great option for many families, especially those who qualify for financial help, but many families don’t have access to financial assistance.
According to Age UK, you can expect to pay, on average, around £600 a week for a care home place and over £800 a week for a place in a nursing home.
These fees vary on the individual care home, where in the country you are, and as mentioned, your financial circumstances. How much financial help you qualify for, usually depends on how much capital you or your relative has. The idea is that financial help is reserved for those most in need.
Home care, sometimes a much-preferred option for those who are still quite mobile, is similar in that financial help is reserved for those most in need.
Firstly, your local council will carry out a home assessment to gauge the level of assistance needed and make a recommendation based on their findings. How much you will need to pay towards the cost of home care will depend on income and personal savings.
For those who are self-funding homecare, the average cost across the UK is £15 per hour, according to Age UK.
Elderly Care Alternatives
For some families, regardless of costs, care homes are just not an option, so alternatives are sought to keep loved ones nearby and safe.
One option is to simply live together. For many families in the UK, having an elderly relative living with them is the norm. However, this can have its downsides, especially from a practical point of view regarding space. The average UK home isn’t built for multigenerational living.
Some families find building an extension or ‘granny flat’ a good solution to space and privacy concerns. The cost of such a project is justified by comparing the cost to what the alternative may be – care homes or at-home care.
Similarly, self-contained granny annexes are now becoming extremely popular with families across the country. A self-contained annexe is an ideal solution for some families with all parties having their own private space and independence, yet still living close enough together to be there when help is needed.
Again, the cost of building a granny annexe can work out cheaper than care in some cases. The cost of a granny annexe can vary between companies and will also be based on materials used and the amount of labour needed. But, when compared against the cost of several years in a care home or paying for private home care, there is no wonder many families are choosing this option.
With annexes available from as little as £55,250, a granny annexe might be something your family may want to consider too!