The cost of living in a care home for a year is now more than double the average pensioner income, new figures show.
Costing more than £30,000 per year, the average annual pensioner’s income of £14,456 will now cover less than six months of care, while the average stay in a care home is 2.5 years.
This equates to a shortfall of £317 each week, which has increased by 9% in the last year from £290 per week.
According to the five year study by Prestige Nursing + Care, the cost of a room in a residential home has risen by 5.2% in the last year, compared with just 2.5% in 2014/15.
The care agency said that the cost is rising significantly faster than the rate of pensioner incomes, which grew by just 1.1% over the last year.
The report added that the cost of living in a care home is now equal to nearly 40 hours of home care per week, when patients at home usually only receive just over 12 hours.
The report also found that London has the most expensive care homes, which cost on average £38,896 per year – a 19% increase on last year.
However, the east of England remains the region with the greatest gap between care cost and income at £22,828.
Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing + Care said: “Vast regional differences in the price of care see residents in the East of England, London and the South West facing an annual shortfall of more than £20,000 when paying for care. There remains a clear North-South divide, whereby the South faces the greatest challenge when it comes to funding care.
“The challenge of paying for care in later life needs a broad range of options, of which access to home care is a fundamental part of the solution. Particularly for those with lesser care needs, home care is a much more financially attractive option that potentially offers huge savings.
“People with complex health and medical conditions can also be treated at home – so this option can be used widely, helping to ease the burden the ageing population places on the NHS.”
He added: “Care workers and nurses absolutely deserve the boost they have received to their pay, but the increase in the minimum wage has no doubt pushed the cost of elderly care upwards.
“The UK’s ageing population means many with longer-term conditions will require care of some sort. But for many, the widening gap between costs and income will make it difficult to receive the amount and quality of care they require without substantial savings to fall back on.”