Are you a carer for an elderly relative living alone? Do you find that you are worried about how they will manage in the future? Then your problerley not alone, there are an estimated 6.5 million carers in the UK.
Of course being a carer can mean different things to different people. Sometimes it can be something as simple as a regular telephone call for a chat and catch up. Or it could be doing the a weekly shop . Or perhaps you’ve noticed that your parents are staring to get a bit forgetful and you are looking at ways to support them, so they can live more independently in there own homes.
I have an elderly relative who has lived with Vascular Dementia semi independently for many years. However last year her condition significantly worsened. It became apparent that she now needed some additional care and she needed it PDQ.
I found that trying to arrange care for someone who lives hundreds of miles away from me, a nightmare. I was regularly signposted by professionals in her area to the wrong agency’s completely.
So I thought I would share some information I gained on my journey. In the hope that it might prove useful to others going through this.
Once you have spoken with your relative or loved one and they’ve agreed and given there consent. You should contact your local council’s adult Social Services department. To request a care needs assessment. The local authority have a duty to carry out a care needs assessment.
Try to be as specific as possible in this request ;
outlining your relatives needs. For example explain what they need support with, it may be (Personal care) ; washing, showering, transfer in /out of the bath or shower. Help with drying and dressing. will they need there clothes laid out each day? So that they are not wearing the same clothes and underwear each day. Or will they need help with meal preparation or medication prompt.
You may also like to ask the care professional about assisted technology. I have found this particularly helpful in the early stages of my Aunts illness .
Assisted technology allows a person to alert others when they are in need such as if they have had a fall. The most common device is one worn either around the neck or the wrist and consists of a simple push button. Pushing this button then alerts someone that the individual is in need. (Theses device’s need to be worn at all times.) There are various devices available and your care professional will be able to go through this with you as part of the Care assessment.
An occupational therapy assessment is there to look at what aids may be of support to someone. This assessment can look at such things as bathing needs, access to property, Stair climbing, transfer in out of a chair, perching stools, key safes. This list is not extensive. it may be worth knowing that occupational therapy does not provide walking aids, including Zimmer frames, walking sticks or wheelchairs.
However an individual needs to meet the relevant criteria to be provided with a care package or occupational therapy equipment. This can be discussed with your local council’s adult Social Services department.
The above information is to assist you and the care professional to identify where your relative or loved one, might benefit from additional support from social care.
Your relative can request that you are present at the assessment and this will afford you the opportunity to discuss your relatives care needs more fully. Together you will be able to work towards an agreed care and support plan. There is a cost for care, the care professional will go through this with you before a package of care is agreed.
You may also like to ask about a carers assessment.
Briefly a carers assessment can be helpful in providing you with advice on what support is available to you as a carer.
You can seek advice on respite , or advice on your rights if you are still in paid employment and acting as a carer.