When the time comes and you realise that your parent or loved one is in need of care and support your first port of call should be the local authority.
Their local authority is obligated to provide an assessment identifying what their needs are and how they impact on their wellbeing. The assessment is free of charge and available to everyone.
The assessment will make recommendations, including whether they need companionship, home care, residential care or simple adaptations to their home.
Carrying out a care assessment
When assessing a person’s needs, the local authority will consider how a person’s needs affect their wellbeing.
Many local authorities now only support people who have substantial or critical needs, or in other words, people who struggle with:
- managing and maintaining nutrition, such as being able to prepare and eat food and drink
- maintaining personal hygiene, such as being able to wash themselves and their clothes
- managing toilet needs
- being able to dress appropriately, for example during cold weather
- being able to move around the home safely, including accessing the home from outside
- keeping the home sufficiently clean and safe
- being able to develop and maintain family or other personal relationships, in order to avoid loneliness or isolation
- accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering, including physical access
- being able to safely use necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport and recreational facilities or services
- carrying out any caring responsibilities, such as for a child
After the Care Assessment
Once a local authority has established that a person meets the eligibility criteria, it must make sure that these needs are met. The first step will be to draw up a care and support plan.
Social care is not free and a contribution towards the cost may be required. A financial assessment is carried out to see if this is needed. To qualify for free support in their own home, older people must have less than £23,500 of assets (not including their home).
If you disagree with your needs assessment or the care and support plan, there are ways that decisions can be challenged or you can make a complaint.