Cost of Care – The Complete Guide to Paying and Funding Your Care in 2024

James Bowdler

12 June, 2020

2 min read

Funding Home Care is one of the most complicated aspects of caring for your loved one. There are options for funding available and cost savings to be made. This article hopes to go deep into all these subjects to help you provide the best care possible for your family.

Chapter 1: What Does Care Cost?

The cost of care varies for a variety of reasons. Primarily the method you propose purchasing care, the type of care you need, and the difficulty level your loved one presents.

Types of Care

Hourly Care – This is generally the highest cost per hour of care due to the factoring in of travel costs to and from each visit. Overall though, it’s a great way to dip your toe into the care, as visits can be booked in as little as 30 minutes. Cost care, from a little as £15ph to as much as £35ph, which is mainly dependent on where you find the cares. Our full guide on the costs of hourly care is available here.

Live-in Care – This is generally cheaper per hour of care provided than hourly care but will cost at least £770/week at a minimum, but can cost to £1,750 . Variations in live-in care costs are generally driven by how challenging the patient is as well as how you source the carer. If you’d like to find more detailed pricing information about live-in care, read our full guide on the subject.

Overnight Care – Night care is typically charged per night, expected to last between 8 to 12 hours, which includes assisting the client to bed and helping them up in the morning. Costs vary significantly; an 8-hour Sleeping Night may cost around £120, while a 12-hour Waking Night could be as much as £240. Check out our comprehensive guide here.

Want to know the latest prices?

Check out our pricing page for up-to-the-minute live pricing information about hourly and live-in care:

Chapter 2: How Can Care Be Funded?

How can care be funded? watercolor of a council building in the UK

Drawing on Friends, Family and Neighbours

Setting up a simple rota to share caring tasks with family members, friends, and neighbours can help improve the level of care you can offer. Share out tasks like shopping trips, phone calls, visits, trips to the doctor, cleaning and washing to make your workload more manageable. Taking this approach will mean that the person you care for isn’t isolated, and you will find others surprisingly keen to help you. All the repayment they need is gratitude and the odd bottle of wine (or another appropriate gesture).

Caring for someone will probably always be on your mind, so getting burnt out is easy. The best way to avoid that situation is to pay close attention to your mental and physical health and to take steps to relax. 

Find an activity that helps you to clear your mind and recharge your batteries. Mindful activities like yoga, knitting or drawing can help you relax; even just going for a walk can do you a world of good. Of course, the most important way to look after your mental and physical health is to recognise when you are struggling and ask others for help. Never be afraid to ask others for help or speak about your feelings, thoughts or fears to others. 

Financial Support From the Government

Whether you’ve already settled on the kind of care that fits your family best or are still trying to decide, now is the perfect time to start thinking about government funding initiatives you can take advantage of.

The government can help your family with care costs in several ways, and these initiatives could eventually make your life a lot easier. The biggest problem with these fundings is you have to jump through many hoops to get there.

To qualify, the patient must have available assets of less than £23,250, excluding the value of the property in which they live, so do take that into account before you apply. However, you are always entitled to a needs assessment, so apply anyway, as that is worth getting, whatever the case.

While we can’t make the applications for you. We can take you through the steps involved and make the journey a little bit easier for you, so drop us a line, and we will do our best to help you.

Different Ways the Government Can Help

  • Local authority funding
  • Direct payments
  • NHS continuing healthcare
  • NHS-funded nursing care
  • Benefits for care recipients

Local Authority Funding

In some cases, your loved one may be able to receive partial funding from their local council.

They need to speak directly to social services in their area, and complete care needs assessment to determine eligibility. It’s worth highlighting that you won’t be eligible if you live in England or Northern Ireland and have assets greater than £23,250. This figure differs for Wales (£24,000 for care at home, £30,000 for care in a home) and Scotland (£26,500).

The threshold of £23,250 does not include your house if you reside in it. However, the moment you move out and into a care home, it will count, and you will have to use the value of that asset before receiving any additional council funding.

The care needs assessment helps the local authority gain a better insight into the extent of care required and a broader understanding of your loved one’s specific needs. The person needing care can do it themselves over the phone or in person, or you can do it on their behalf. In either case, you’ll need to provide the care recipients:

  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Contact details
  • GP’s address

At some point, they also need to complete a means test. This is essentially an appraisal of their financial circumstances to establish what they need to contribute to the total care cost.

Your point of contact then comes back to you with their decision on whether you’re eligible for funding and, if so, a recommended care plan. Once agreed, it’s put into writing. The overall process can take two or three months from start to finish.

Direct Payments

Direct payments – also known as a personal budget – are government contributions the care recipient can use to independently arrange their care. These have seen a bit of a squeeze in 2024, presumably as local councils seek to cut costs by pushing the burden back onto the patient and their family, so you must be firm and persistent with them to ensure your rights are respected.

Like local authority funding, your loved one will receive ongoing financial support. But rather than having to construct a care plan with another party, they can use this money however they see fit. This gives your family more choice, control and flexibility over how you meet their care needs.

The amount of money in your personal budget is decided by your local council after a needs assessment to work out:

  • What kind of care and support do you need?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How much you’re able to afford?

Choosing How to Receive Your Personal Budget

You can ask the council to either:

  • Manage your personal budget for you
  • Pay the money to another organisation, such as a care provider
  • Pay the money directly to you or someone you choose

You can also choose a combination of these options. For example, the council could arrange some of your care but send you the rest of the money. This is often called a mixed package.

If the Council Manages Your Money

The council will spend the money in your personal budget for you. They will arrange all your care and support based on your agreed care plan.

They still need to check you’re happy with the care they’re arranging for you.

If Your Money Is Paid to Another Organisation

The organisation you choose, such as your care provider, will speak to and arrange the payments with the council.

Sometimes organisations may charge you extra money to arrange payments from the council.

If the Money Is Paid Directly to You

Direct payments give you more flexibility over how your support and care are arranged and provided.

For example, you could choose to hire care workers or personal assistants who:

  • Are always the same people and available when you need them
  • Speak the same language as you
  • Have experience working with your care needs
  • It can help you get to shops or social events

There are many ways you could choose to use the money. The choice is yours, as long as you spend your budget on things that meet your agreed care plan.

Most councils will ask for evidence of how you’ve spent your money every 3 months. There is also a chance that they can give you no choice as to what your budget should be spent on. For example, if you require 24-hour care, it is unlikely that the council will offer you direct payment. Instead, they may insist on moving to a care home.

Check out our article on the cost of care homes.

To find out whether you’re eligible for direct payments, you need to get in touch with your local council and complete the same funding assessment as above. Remember that your eligibility is once again affected by the value of assets.

NHS Continuing Healthcare

NHS continuing healthcare is a care plan which includes full financing for any services that take place outside the hospital.

To find out if your relative is eligible, they must visit their GP, who will complete an initial checklist and refer the case directly. They are then invited to participate in a full assessment with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

This group reflects on a whole range of needs – including behavioural, cognitive, physical and nutritional – and assesses which are priority concerns. They look into the complexity and severity of these requirements and how predictable they are moving forward.

You’ll decide within a month whether or not your loved one will receive these funding sources for care. If they do, your family collaborates with a professional to create a bespoke care and support package.

NHS-Funded Nursing Care

The NHS may pay a weekly rate for a registered nurse to visit your relative in their care home. This is known as NHS-funded nursing care.

The assessment process is the same as for NHS continuing healthcare – via a GP and then a panel of experts – as you’ll only be offered this option if your loved one has failed to qualify for the former. It’s also exclusively for those who live in care homes since the care will be provided by nurses employed by the residence.

The NHS will arrange and fund nursing if the care recipient is eligible. This covers a range of nursing services, including planning, supervising and monitoring healthcare tasks and one-on-one care.

Benefits for care recipients

Personal Independence Payment, also known as PIP, goes towards the costs of long-term health conditions and disability for those under 65. It is similar to the Disability Living Allowance, which is being phased out in favour of PIP.

PIP comprises two components, each of which is paid at a standard or an enhanced rate.

  • The standard weekly rate for the daily living component – £57.30
  • The standard weekly rate for the mobility component – £22.65
  • The enhanced weekly rate for the daily living component – £85.60
  • The enhanced weekly rate for the mobility component – £59.75

To claim PIP, you’ll need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The assessment test is based on the support they require rather than on their financial circumstances.

After a routine medical assessment, your relative will determine if they’re eligible to receive PIP, and what component they fall into.

Attendance allowance helps cover care costs for those aged 65 and over. Like PIP, it is tested based on the support they require.

Attendance allowance is specifically designed for those who need help with everyday activities, getting around and medical care. There are two rates available:

  • If you need help both day and night, you’ll receive the higher rate of £83.10 a week
  • If help is needed throughout the day, you’ll receive the lower rate of £55.65 a week

To claim Attendance Allowance, you must fill in a claim form and sebd it to the DWP. They’ll then get back to you to discuss the care recipient further and to confirm their eligibility.

Chapter 3: Self-Funding Care

It's often possible to self-fund care while remaining in your home and there are various ways to do this.

Paying for Care – Will I Need to Sell My Home?

You shouldn’t have to sell your house, due to the cost of care, if you need to pay for care in your home.

If you move into a care home, you may have to unless your partner still lives there – although there may be other options to help you avoid selling your house. These include renting rooms in your home and deferred payment schemes, where the council can pay for your care, and you pay it back if you choose to sell your home or after your death.

You could also look at an equity release. This is available for anyone over 55 and allows you to use money tied up in your home. You will have to pay interest on this, so make sure you do plenty of research through services like the Money Advice Service first.

What Happens if I Run Out of Savings?

If you have savings above £23,250 but this drops, you can apply for the council’s payment scheme. This ensures that you can continue paying for your care.

If you think your savings might go below £23,250, ring the council. We advise that you do this three months beforehand to arrange for coverage in good time.

Free Help With Care

You can get NHS healthcare at any time, like NHS-funded nursing, regardless of how much you have in savings or if you’re paying for care.

You might also get some minor house alterations for free if they cost less than £1,000. This gives you access to handrails for the stairs or grab rails in your bathroom.

To see if you can receive this, you can apply for equipment via the government website.

There are also other local voluntary organisations, and some that run nationally. It is worth calling or visiting your local AgeUK branch or calling CarersUK for advice.

Chapter 4: Looking After Your Loved One’s Finances

If your loved one is struggling to make decisions on care then seeking power of attorney can be a solution.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney grants someone the right to make decisions about someone else’s money on their behalf.

There are two types: ordinary powers of attorney and lasting powers of attorney.

Ordinary Powers of Attorney

A donor temporarily confers financial authority upon someone they trust (an ‘attorney’). This means, for example, they give another person control over their finances while they’re sequestered in the hospital. Or if they’re physically unable to visit a bank. They can also define which assets – property, savings and so on – this attorney has a say over.

In short, it’s an option for those who require assistance from time to time but are still mentally capable of making decisions.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

A donor gives someone they trust the right to manage their financial affairs indefinitely.

Unlike an ordinary power of attorney, lasting power of attorney (LPA) is still valid even if your loved one’s mental health declines. This means someone will step in when the donor cannot sufficiently grasp the potential consequences of a decision they need to make. Those diagnosed with dementia often decide to pursue this option.

Just as in the case of ordinary powers of attorney. However, an LPA is valid only as far as the donor is willing to permit.

This may extend to:

  • Paying off a mortgage
  • Maintaining a property
  • Selling a home
  • Cashing out investments
  • Managing pensions and benefits

How to Set up Powers of Attorney

To set up a power of attorney, ordinary or lasting. You’ll first need to register with the Office of the Public Guardian. This usually costs between £65 and £115. This fee may be waived if you’re on a low income or receiving certain benefits. For more information, AgeUK has produced a comprehensive guide on how powers of attorney work.

Before you register, we recommend seeking advice from a solicitor. Multiple independent sources provide good advice on how to find one.


This article is part of our series about Home Care. If you’d like to learn more about that, check it out here.

Other Related Articles

Can My Mum Pay Me To Care For Her?
Read Now

Accessing Council Funding for Home Care – A Comprehensive Guide
Read Now

A Comparison of Carer Shopping Cards
Read Now

Carers Allowance – What it is and how to get it
Read Now

Paying for home care and managing expenses
Read Now

James Bowdler


I founded and manage PrimeCarers, a Platform that connects Private Clients with Private Carers near them.

Local Carers Near

View All Carers Near

View All