Home care or care home – Making the choice


When someone you love has problems to manage the daily tasks of taking care of themselves and their home, it may be time to consider providing extra care and support. For many families, this can be a difficult decision. They may live too far away to give help themselves or don’t have the necessary skills to provide the additional support required. Everyone wants what is best for an elderly relative, so what are the options?

Would your relative like to stay in their own home or do they prefer or need to move into a care home? What is the best option? And how much does it cost? Everyone’s circumstances are different, so it’s important that you sit down with your loved one and talk it through. Discuss what care needs are required and consider the choices carefully.

To help you reach a decision, here are the pros and cons of home care vs care home and the average costs involved:

Home care

A home is more than bricks and mortar; it holds happy memories for many people and leaving it could be a massive wrench. If someone is struggling to manage, perhaps after an operation or while recovering from an illness, they may still be able to stay in the comfort of their own home. Home care agencies provide a wide range of physical and social support, from help a couple of hours a week with household chores, personal care, shopping or preparing meals to a professional round the clock care package.


  • You can retain your independence in familiar surroundings
  • You receive quality care from friendly and highly trained carers
  • You choose the level and type of support to suit your needs
  • Peace of mind knowing someone is coming in to provide extra support
  • The value of your home is not used to calculate your care costs
  • If you have a beloved pet, you won’t face the heartache of parting from them
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  • Round the clock care is expensive, so residential care could be more cost effective
  • You will still have the cost of maintaining your home and your living expenses
  • If your home needs modifying, it might affect the value of the property
  • If your family live away or you don’t have many friends, it may be lonely
  • You may not like care workers coming into your home
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Home care costs

Costs vary depending on where you live and the level of care required. On average, expect to pay:
About £17 an hour or £12,400 per year for a carer coming in for 14 hours a week.
From £35,000 per year for full-time care during the day.
Up to £70,000 per year for day and night care depending on your needs.

Going into a care home

Deciding to go into a care home can be a big decision. If it’s right for you, you need to decide what kind of home provides the type of help and support you need. Not all care homes are the same. Some provide nursing care and basic help and there are homes without nursing care that give help and assistance with personal care, such as dressing and washing. Draw up a list of suitable homes and make a visit, taking with you a list of questions you want to ask. Also check out the Care Quality Commission web site to view the most recent inspection report.


  •  Trained staff, who are always on hand to meet your needs
  • Some homes have accommodation for couples
  •  Some provide support for people with dementia
  • You will always have company and homes have organised activities
  • It’s safe and secure
  •  No worries about doing household chores, making meals or paying bills
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  •  Leaving familiar surroundings can be a wrench
  •  You may feel you have lost some of your independence
  •  The disruption to your lifestyle can be distressing
  •  You may have to part with sentimental items because there may not be space to fit them in your room
  •  Pets may not be allowed
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Care home costs

Like home care costs, these can vary depending on what part of the country you live and the level of care required. On average, expect to pay:
From £650 per week or £34,000 per year for a residential care home.
From£750 per week or £39,000 per year if nursing is required.

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