Home » Carers » Understand your options when it comes to care
Carers

Understand your options when it comes to care

avatar

Sonia Sodha

Head of Public Services and Consumer Rights Policy, Which?

What care options are open to me as I get older? It depends on your individual level of need, but options include home care and senior housing.


It’s natural to want to live independently for as along as possible. Yet at some point, because of an illness or health condition, you may have care needs to consider. This may require having extra help in your own home, in which case you should investigate home care services — plus any help from your local authority to have your home adapted.

Local authorities are required to carry out an assessment if they think you have a need for care and they are not allowed to take into account how much money you have

Sonia Sodha, Head of Public Services and Consumer Rights Policy at Which?, says the trick is to plan ahead. Adaptations, for example, could help you stay in your own home for longer. “It means that you may be able to prevent falls,” she says, “which could result in hospitalisation.  And that could be the trigger for having to move into a care home.”

Because of a condition or simply a desire for a lifestyle change, you may need to leave your own home and move into some form of senior housing. There are different types available: sheltered housing is designed to help people live independently, knowing that help is at hand if they need it. Then there are care homes that offer residents help with personal care (washing, meals, etc) or nursing care if you have a long-term health condition. Plus, there are specialist homes for people with conditions such as dementia.

Level of need

To work out the best option for you may mean having a needs or community care assessment from your local authority. “It’s important to say that local authorities are required to carry out an assessment if they think you have a need for care,” says Sodha, “and they are not allowed to take into account how much money you have. That’s a common misconception. It’s something we would recommend doing, because it will consider your physical and mental health and general well-being, assess your level of need and help you think about the type of care that might be appropriate for you.”

Financial support is determined separately by a means test. If you have assets above the threshold of £23,250, you will be liable for your own care. The Which? website offers advice and information in this area, including tips on seeking out senior housing options. “You should always, of course, make a visit,”  says Sodha. “If possible you should then make a second unannounced visit with a relative. Some care homes will even allow you to arrange a trial period — so there are things you can do to ensure that you will receive the best possible care.”

Next article
Home » Carers » Understand your options when it comes to care
Your Later Life 2020

Dealing with bereavement and grief as a carer

Helen Walker (pictured)

Chief Executive, Carers UK

Everyone feels and reacts differently to becoming bereaved. There is no right or wrong way to deal with how you feel about this. 


COVID-19 has meant that some carers are having to face the loss of the person they looked after, maybe under very difficult circumstances.

Grieving will feel very different  right now, as carers are not able to reach out to others in the ways they usually would, and support services are not all operating as normal.

In the immediate aftermath of losing someone, there are usually many practical matters to deal with, from registering the death to organising the funeral. It can feel like your emotions are on hold.

It may help to break these tasks down, listing them in order of priority and ticking them off once completed.

Carers will experience a whole range of emotions, especially if this signifies the end of their caring role.

Consider a memorial service

The way funerals are taking place at the moment may not be the way you would want to say goodbye to someone.

You might want to start planning a memorial service or gathering for those unable to attend. That way, you know that everyone who wants to say goodbye can, and you have a chance to celebrate their life as you normally would have done.

Understandably, you might feel too upset to face these tasks. If you feel able to, tell the people around you what you need from them and how they can help.

There are professionals who can support you.

Expect unexpected emotions

Everyone feels and reacts differently to becoming bereaved. There is no right or wrong way to deal with how you feel about this. 

As well as the emotional pain of losing someone they love, carers will experience a whole range of emotions, especially if this signifies the end of their caring role.

Your feelings could range from relief at having more time to yourself, to guilt at feeling that way, to a desire to make some big changes, to feeling exhausted, alone and unable to do much at all.

Feeling free to acknowledge these complex emotions can be an important part of coming to terms with your loss.

Sometimes it can help to share your feelings with a close family member or friend or you could turn to a bereavement charity such as Cruse Bereavement Care or Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support.

Next article