Clear and simple guidance to help older people find their way through the care maze
You should be fully involved in your assessment. Preferably it should be a face-to-face assessment with a social worker or similarly qualified person. You are able to have a family member, friend or carer with you. If you don't have anyone to support you, and you have difficulty communicating and understanding the assessment your local authority must arrange for an independent advocate to help you. They will be a trained professional who will be representing your interests. It will not cost you anything.
When your local authority assesses your needs they will be working to national eligibility criteria for all local authorities. You will be eligible for their support if you meet the nationally set threshold. The criteria are: 1. your need for support is because of a physical or mental impairment, or illness. 2. You are unable to achieve at least two of the "care outcomes" such as washing, dressing, moving around your home safely, and keeping your home clean and safe.
Your local authority may also offer a self assessment and online or phone assessments. If you are offered one of these and feel it isn't appropiate you can still request a face-to-face assessment.
Your local authority will write to you with a copy of your assessment explaining the reason for their eligibility decision.
If you qualify for local authority support they must provide you with a care and support plan. You should be involved in developing this plan along with your social worker and a family member, friend or advocate.
If you are not eligible for local authority support they must still provide you with information and advice about what care and support is available locally to help.
If you have a friend or family member who cares for you they will have the same legal right to a free needs assessment, and possibly support, whether or not you are getting support from your local authority.
* This website currently covers the care system in England. There are differences in how care is delivered and funded in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If you reside in either of these countries we would suggest a good starting point would be the Age UK offices for your country. Please click the link Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales