The need for care can arise for different reasons. It might be a permanent or, it might be just a temporary means to get over an accident or a fall. Whatever the reason it is important to obtain a professional assessment of your needs. The first port of call for this is your local social services department who have a duty to assess the care needs of anyone who has been identified as possibly needing community care services that can be provided by them. These could include home care, meals on wheels, day care, equipment and alterations to your home care in a care home or respite care. There is no charge for an assessment from the council. Alternatively, if you can afford it, there are also independent agencies that can do this privately.
Professionals assessing your needs decide what services or support can be provided to meet your needs. These could range from home help to a live in carer or from adapting your home to recommending alternative accommodation. Sadly, many local authorities on tight budgets can only provide care to those people who have substantial or critical needs so it is a good idea to ask them to describe what procedures, priorities and rules they use to decide whether they will provide services, and if they will help to pay for them. Ask them to explain about how their rules apply to your situation.
There are no national eligibility criteria for community care services, but there is government guidance on which each council must base its services. The services that your council provides should be available from the local council offices or in most cases available on their website. Your GP’s surgery or local Age Concern should also be able to help you understand the local eligibility criteria and how to access services.