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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March, 2005, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
Care home cost fears for elderly
A nurse helping an elderly lady
The cost of care is becoming increasingly expensive
The cost to the elderly in the UK of paying care home fees has risen by a third in the past five years, according to charity Help the Aged.

The 33% price rise has outstripped the 15% increase in average retirement incomes during the same time, it said.

The charity warns some new rises coming into effect today, in the public and private sector, may be as high as 28%.

Pensioners must pay towards the cost of care if their capital tops 12,500, including the value of their home.

Elderly people needing care who have capital of more than 20,000, including the value of their home, have to meet the total cost of their care.

'Affordability gap'

Help the Aged is worried that those who have to contribute towards their care might not be able to raise the funds they need.

It reckons around 30% of people who require long-term care have to meet part or all of the cost themselves.

"Our calculations reveal the true extent of the care fees affordability gap - a gap which self-funders are finding ever more difficult to plug," said Philip Spiers, of the Help the Aged Care Fees Advice Service.

"With the cost of care home places escalating over the last few years, but retirement income growth remaining sluggish, the task of raising the money to meet the expense of care is becoming increasingly complicated."

The Care Fees Advice Service from Help the Aged provides free advice to anyone, entering or already in care, regardless of means, on 0500 767476.

The advice service also helps the elderly to make sense "of the complex assortment of state-funded benefits they may be entitled to".

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