Long term care can include a variety of different things, depending on individual needs. Long term care for the elderly could mean help with day-to-day activities or support with an on-going medical condition. As the nature of long term care varies, so does the cost of long term care. Many consumers are surprised when they realize just how expensive this kind of care can get. In fact, paying for care for yourself or an elderly loved one could end up being one of the biggest financial costs and commitments in your lifetime.

Ensuring that you choose the right kind of care is the first step in determining how you will pay for it. There are several different factors that should be taken into account when determining the right setting for the care you or your loved one needs or will need. There are often several options available, some of them rather confusing for anyone who has not needed to go through this process before. There are some professionals that can help you in choosing the best setting. However, the decision will ultimately depend on your particular preferences as well as you exact needs and where those services can most appropriately be delivered.

Care can be provided in a number of different settings. For example, you could decide to receive care in the comfort of your own home or you may decide to receive services in a community setting or even a residential care home. Many individuals choose to receive their care in their home. This is referred to as ‘domiciliary care’ and is actually possible in most circumstances. Depending on where the care is received, costs can vary quite significantly. In terms of residential care facilities, there are currently two different kinds: homes that involve assisted living services and day-to-day oversight, and homes that offer nursing care, and specified treatments.

One of the main factors that goes in to determining the actual cost of services is what kind of services are needed and required. The fees can vary quite substantially depending on exactly what the patient needs. Some of these individual needs can qualify you to receive some financial assistance, which can come from a few different sources. For example, the NHS provides a needs-based continuing care service free of charge. Any component of long term care that is primarily related to health issues and qualifies for continuing healthcare services will be funded by the NHS. Of course, this assistance relies very heavily on the needs- assessment process.

Social services can also provide some funding based on a means test. During this process, your financial needs are assessed in order to evaluate whether or not you are entitled to state funding. Depending on financial circumstances, the council could either contribute a portion of the bill or may even pay the bill in full. As of 2012, those with income and savings above the threshold of £23,250 are no longer eligible to receive help from the council.

Costs of long term care at home can include the cost of the caretaker, costs associated with home modifications that might be necessary, and mobility aids. If the individual plan includes a nursing component, the cost of care will also include fees for nursing staff, which can include any fees for staff that are working under the supervision of a registered nurse as well as any costs for medical treatment and supplies.

Depending on the individual case it is possible to be offered a combination package of help with care costs. For instance, if your care plan includes a nursing component along with some day-to-day support, the NHS may cover the costs of nursing care, and the council may fund the other part of care along with some contribution from you. This can help bring several services together to help offset the combined cost for all services.

For care received in the home, sources of funding include the local authority if eligible, self-funding and charitable funding whenever possible. When looking at care in the home, it is important to remember that the cost will include everything required for daily living including drinks, food, and utility bills. So that cost may seem shockingly high at first. However, this is an all-inclusive cost.

Long term care is a very relevant topic in current times. As with everything else, the cost of care is rising, just as social care budgets are facing increasing cuts. To understand more about the care system and different options for state as well as self-funding alternatives, it is advisable to seek specialist and professional advice.