Caring can be exhausting. Help with practical tasks can make caring easier. You or the person you care for may be eligible for several types of support from social services. Before the social services department can assist you, it must carry out an assessment of what your care needs are. This can include:
- A community care assessment for the adult you’re looking after if they are disabled, frail because of age or have a long-term illness. If you’re a disabled carer you may be eligible for your own community care assessment.
- Assessments for children. An assessment can be done for a child who is disabled or who can be described as a child in need.
- A carer’s assessment. This is an assessment of your own needs as a carer.
In most cases, obtaining services for the person you’re looking after means that they will need a community care assessment. Your own carer’s assessment may be taken into account as part of the process of establishing their needs.
Once the assessment has been completed, the local authority has to make a decision about whether or not it will provide or arrange services for you. It does this by comparing your assessed care needs with eligibility criteria that it has set for community care services.
The type of help that may be available includes:
- Community meals
- Home care such as meal preparation, washing and help getting up from, and to bed
- Residential care
- Day services such as day centres
- A personal alarm system
- Adaptations and help with day to day activities
There may be a charge for these services.
Local authority services for carers can be flexible. The government says that local authorities must “genuinely support the carer in their caring role or help them maintain their own health and wellbeing”, but there are no rules about what form this support must take.
Services don’t have to be provided directly by the local authority and you can choose to take direct payments instead to buy your own services. If you are allocated a social worker they will be able to advise you about suitable services for the person you care for and yourself.