If you care for someone and you don’t know where to start, here’s what you need to know
Caring can be both physically and emotionally hard work, so if you’re a carer it is important to find out the different ways you can get help and support for yourself.
One way to get help and support is through an assessment by your local authority social services. Both you and the person you care for can get an assessment, which may result in help and support for both of you.
No matter what your level of need, the amount of care you provide or your financial means you can request an assessment. Your carer’s assessment should cover:
- Your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
- Your feelings and choices about caring
- Your health
- Work, study, training and leisure
- Relationships, social activities and your goals
- Planning for emergencies
Once you’ve been assessed your local authorities will make a decision on whether you’re eligible for support. This support can be provided to you or the person you’re caring for.
If you are a carer who appears to have a need for support you should be offered a carer’s assessment of the person you are looking after, which will also be conducted by your local authority.
The support you receive may be provided by your local authority, or in some cases may be a financial award paid via a direct payment. This could then pay for a gym membership, help with housework and gardening, driving lessons or taxi fares to name a few.
Whether your local authority will pay for any support will depend on your financial situation. This is because some, but not all local authority do charge for carer support. It will also depend on the financial situation of the person you are looking after and if services are provided to them.
If you find you are not eligible for support, your local authority still has an obligation to provide you with information and advice on local services that may be helpful and could prevent your needs from developing further.
If you are in the position to, you could hire additional help and support for the person you are looking after. You could employ an individual or use a care provider, such as a care agency. Your local authority may have a list of trusted or approved providers. Alternatively, you can use the Care Quality Commission website (www.cqc.org.uk).
Another resource, which can be helpful is the Which? Elderly Care directory (www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/care-services-directory).
Also, you could find out if you have a local carers organisation, and if so what support they offer to carers in your area by visiting www.carersuk.org/localsupport.
Carers Week runs from 10-16 June 2019. For more information, visit www.carersweek.org or call the MS-UK Helpline (free) on 0800 783 0518.