A crucial first step to more care and support is to arrange for an assessment from the local authority adult social services department. A care and support needs assessment will help determine the level of assistance needed to remain independent at home or move to residential care. The local authority must produce an assessment regardless of finances or eligibility. They might recommend services such as disability equipment, home adaptations, sheltered housing, care in a residential or nursing care home, or respite care. If one parent is the carer then they should have a carer’s assessment to determine what support they might need. For more information about getting a care and support assessment, visit our page here:
An associated financial assessment will determine the level of funding available to your parents where the care option is means tested. The current thresholds for eligibility in England are £14,250 in capital for maximum support; contributions towards care at home will be made for anyone with capital up to £23,250. Anyone with more than £23,250 is not eligible for means-tested support. (In Northern Ireland, personal care is free to those aged over 65 who have been assessed by their local authority. The same applies in Scotland for personal care. In Wales, savings above £23,750 mean they will have to pay all of the fees for their care at home. Read The Money Advice Services’ useful advice regarding the asset limits in financial assessments to get a better understanding.
What is included in the Financial Assessment for Care at Home
All income (property, investments, pensions and benefits); bank and building society accounts, national savings and premium bonds; stocks and shares; shares in family businesses; regular savings including ISAs.
What isn’t included in the Assessment
The value of their home, any personal possessions and the surrender value of life insurance policies/annuities. In addition, a number of benefits and allowances are also excluded from the Assessment.
Key Things You Should Know about Assessments
Local authorities have a responsibility to ensure the integration of care and support with health and health-related services, including housing. People will be assessed on the basis of their general wellbeing and not just their personal care needs, and will be based on three tests:
• If the needs arise from a physical or mental impairment or illness
• If your parent is unable to achieve two or more of the specified “care outcomes” (see below)
• If there is likely to be a significant impact on their well-being
The local authority is obliged to ensure that the person under assessment is able to involve their spouse/carer/relative fully in the assessment process. Plus – all of the individual’s needs should be recorded as part of the assessment, regardless of whether these needs will be met by the local authority according to the eligibility criteria.
Our advice is to be with your parent for the assessment if you possibly can. Not only can you help avoid the “stiff upper lip” approach that some parents may take, minimising or downplaying their health/care issues for the needs assessment, but you can ensure that it covers all your parent’s health and social care needs. The ‘care outcomes’ that the local authority will consider are:
• Managing and maintaining nutrition
• Maintaining personal hygiene
• Managing toilet needs
• Being appropriately clothed
• Being able to make use of the adult’s home safely
• Maintaining a habitable home environment
• Developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships
• Accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
• Making use of local community facilities or services including public transport
• Caring out any caring responsibilities the adult has for a child
Following the assessment and If the criteria are met, the Authority must produce a detailed care plan and a personal budget. The local authority must also provide information on what care is available and how to access these services, even if it will not be provided by them.
Carers’ rights have finally been extended so that anyone who provides care (unpaid) and feels they might benefit from some support is entitled to an assessment by the local authority.
You, or one of your parents caring for the other, could be eligible for things like help with housework, leisure memberships or even respite services.
What You Need To Know about Carers Assessments
The focus is on the carer’s ability to continue to provide care and is currently assessed as part of a joint assessment with the cared-for person, or as a separate assessment.Anyone who provides care and feels they might benefit from some support will be entitled to an assessment if as a result of caring for another adult:
• Their physical or mental health is at risk of deteriorating, or
• They are unable to achieve any of a list of specified outcomes (including things like maintaining family relationships or engaging in recreational activities) and this has a significant impact on their wellbeing.
What Help and Support is Available?
The support given will be means tested by the local authority, however, the following might be available:
• Respite care for a holiday
• A sitting service, a day centre placement or a befriending service
• Carers training to include lifting techniques for example
• Computer and training courses to aid starting or returning to paid work
• Taxi fares to help with travel
• Gardening and housework help
There is lots of good advice regarding assessments. You might want to look at:
https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-a-local-authority-care-needs-assessment-works or http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/Pages/assessment-care-needs.aspx.