Essential guide to getting help for elderly
The question we are asked most frequently is how to go about getting help for an elderly loved one. They might be that they are showing signs of mental or physical decline, or possibly both. This article will guide you through where to start and what options are open to you.
Talking to your relative about the fact they need help
This is easier said than done. Often, older people are reluctant to face the fact that they are not managing as well as they used to and are frightened about what the future holds. There are ways, however, to start these conversations. Read our tops tips on how to broach difficult subjects hereand the ten most important things you must discuss with your parents here.
Go to see the GP first
The GP should be your first port of call if you are concerned about your elderly relative’s health and ability to cope at home. The GP will run tests if necessary and will do two main things:
Discuss medical treatment and any further tests require
Liaise with the local authority to get a care assessment for your older relative
Care assessments are carried out at home. It is helpful to write down any important points before the assessment, so you can input your concerns and do not forget any issues you want to raise. The care assessment will look at your elderly relative’s needs and recommend the appropriate services Normally, an assessment is required before any services can be provided by the social services department of a local authority, but if the need is urgent, the local authority can provide help without carrying out the assessment The local authority uses the community care assessment to decide whether a person needs a community care service and, if they do, whether it can be provided by the local authority The assessment should provide certain basic information and a care plan should be drawn up A wide range of services could be needed, from aids and adaptations in the person’s own home, to care workers, or residential care. You can read the full details about care assessments and what they entail here.
Help at home and personal budgets: There are a range of care options available, depending on the results of the assessment. It might be that your older relative can remain at home, but will need help with adaptations and some form of live in care. The local authority will give your elderly parent a personal budget to manage to pay for their care, depending on their entitlement. You can find full details on personal budgets here.
Care homes: The care assessment may conclude that your parent needs to move into a care home. If this is the case, the local authority will advise you on the options available. Care homes differ depending on need, ranging from residential housing with a warden, to nursing homes and dementia care. You can read about the different types of care homes available here.
Caring from a distance. Many people live a long distance away from their elderly parents and this can be very challenging in terms of care. However, there are things you can do to alleviate some of this stress, including utilising technology to improve communication. Read our suggestions here.
- Care homes: it is essential to visit any care home before you agree to place your relative there. There are several things to look out for and you can read the tests of a good care which we recommend HERE. You should also check out any home with the CQC’s rating service HERE
- Care at home: if you are employing carers, it is also very important to vet them properly and ask the right questions. HERE is a list of questions to help you.
Caring for an older relative can be exhausting. You can ask your local authority for a carer’s assessment to help you manage. Read more about carer assessments here. You should also think about respite care to give yourself a break occasionally and we have more details on that here.
Care can be extremely expensive, especially as the cap on care costs is low. Ideally, you should think about how to fund care before a crisis hits, but if not, there are a number options to consider, which you can read in more detail here.
If your elderly relative is becoming frail, it is sensible to consider getting power of attorney over them in order to help them with their legal, financial and medical affairs. Without this, it is difficult to help them with their personal finances and medical wishes. We have more details on how to get power of attorney HERE. Also, you must ensure your parent has made a will, as if they die intestate, most of what they leave will go to the government. Read more about wills HERE
We offer expert advice on choosing the right care
Grace Consulting provides affordable fee-based independent advice to help you choose the best care option to suit you and your relative’s needs and wishes. Our Care Advisers provide the knowledge and support you need to make the right decision for you and your family. myageingparent.com is partnering with Grace Consulting, the UK’s leading provider of personalised independent care advice, who, for over 40 years, has specialised in finding the best possible care for older people. Please note this is not an Age Concern or Age UK service.
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