An older man in a care home setting

Care home fees in England can vary substantially from provider to provider and from location to location, and securing care home funding can sometimes appear a rather daunting task. Nevertheless, we all want the best we can afford – whether for ourselves or a loved one.

With 50 years experience in providing quality care homes and retirement housing, we have put together the information below to help you better understand care home funding and raise some points for you to consider when choosing a care home.

Choose the right home

Choosing a care home is just like choosing any other place to live – within a few seconds most people instinctively know whether a place ‘feels right’. We always advise customers to choose the place where they feel most comfortable and “at home”.

Assess your situation

An older woman in a care home settingIt is common now for older people in care homes to contribute towards the cost of their care. Some people have the resources to pay for their care in full, whilst others make means-tested contributions.

The government sets national limits that determine eligibility for funding assistance. These can be subject to change, so it’s always advisable to check the current figures when choosing a care home.

Paying for your care yourself

Those who are able to pay for their own care are free to contact care homes directly. Once a preferable home has been identified, the care provider will typically make a needs-based assessment, allowing them to ensure that they are able to meet your needs.As fees can vary from provider to provider, we always advise that you take time to read through any contract before signing, making sure that you understand precisely what you are paying for.

Requesting assistance

For those who wish to request care home funding support, the first step is to speak to your GP and local Social Services department or local authority about care home fees. This route sees an assessment of care needs being carried out before a home is identified.

Next, the local council will conduct a financial assessment in-line with government regulation, looking at income – including pensions and benefits – and capital, such as savings, property and investments.

As this financial assessment is based on the assumption that you are claiming all the benefits available to you, it is important to make sure that you are.

All of this information will then be used to decide how much you can afford to pay towards care home fees, how much funding the council will contribute, and suggest suitable care homes for you to consider. 

Care home top-up fees and third-party payments

Requesting assistance from the local authority does not prohibit you from choosing a care home other than those suggested to you by them; however you may be expected to find a way to cover any difference in cost. A third-party – typically a family member or friend – can contribute to any extra costs, known as ‘care home top-up fees’.

If there are no homes in the area that provide suitable care, the local council may be able to subsidise any additional care home costs for a more appropriate home in another area.

More information

For more information on funding assistance, including details of the current capital limits, visit , the Government’s public services information website, or speak to your GP, local Social Services department or local authority.

Further advice and guidance can also be found on the Disability Rights UK website, including a range of free factsheets covering topics such as how to apply for an assessment from social services, care charging and The Care Act 2014.