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Over-55s face £8,000 bill to adapt homes for care needs

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Many over-55s would prefer to stay in their homes if they needed care in the future. But with many properties being unsuitable, they face a bill of £8,000 to make them ‘care proof’.

Nearly half (47%) of those aged 55 and over wish to remain in their current home if they require care in the future.

However, just a fifth believe their home is suitable for their needs if their health declines in later years.

As such, over-55s specialist adviser Key’s report ‘Tackling the care question’ revealed that the average bill to make homes suitable come in at an average of £8,000.

This includes the cost of installing a wet room, or a stair lift or improving accessibility around the property.

Those in Scotland believe they will need the least to age proof their homes (£7,320), while those in the South West anticipate paying the most (£9,197).

Key added that as part of its Q2 2020 equity release market monitor, money spent on home or garden improvements fell from 17% to 14% due to the pandemic. But ‘age proofing’ a home remains a popular choice for many people who take out equity release.

With the average equity release standing at £74,000, Key said 59% of customers spend some of this on making homes more functional and comfortable for their later years.

When it comes to other arrangements, 28% of the 1,011 polled said they would want to be in a more manageable home or sheltered accommodation if they needed care. Just 5% said they would expect to live with family while 4% would opt for residential care.

‘Consider your options’

Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “The vast majority of people want to receive care and support in the familiar surroundings of their own home but only one in five people believe that their home is suitable if their health does decline as they get older.  Indeed, flights of stairs, a big family bathroom and a multi-level garden might be incredibly desirable for a growing family but tougher for an older couple to manage.

“Over-55s estimate that they need to spend in the region of £8,000 to ‘care proof’ their current home with those in Scotland spending less and those in the South West needing to budget more.  The need to make these changes may feel like a long way off for those early in retirement but it is important to consider whether your current home could work for you as you get older, otherwise it may be worth exploring other options including a move to a more suitable property.

“How you finance any changes to your property as well as any potential care needs requires careful consideration, so speaking to a specialist financial adviser about all your options is important.”

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