You may need help with tasks like getting up and getting dressed, washing and bathing. Providers of this kind of care include social services, private care agencies and voluntary organisations. To find care and support organisations, visit the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and select Care in Your Home, or make a telephone enquiry to 03000 616 161.
All currently-registered adult social care and independent healthcare providers must be registered with and are inspected by the CQC. If you need personal care or assistance with your essential daily tasks, you may be eligible for Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance. Information on benefits is available from Turn2Us or by telephone on 0808 802 2000.
You may need help with laundry, cleaning, shopping and gardening. Raise this at your assessment.
Meals at Home
Local authorities should provide meals at home to those who need them, either directly or through a voluntary organisation or private agency. Some deliver hot meals, others provide frozen meals and a means of heating them. You should not be left with frozen meals if you will not be able to heat them up.
Access to Your Home
If you have difficulty climbing the steps leading to your front door, you could have a rail installed to help you step over the threshold safely. If you are a wheelchair user, you may need to have a ramp installed to enable you to reach the front door.
This may require alterations to the porch or front step. A portable ramp may be appropriate where there is a small step and where there is someone present who can install and then remove the ramp after use. If you have difficulty getting to the front door when someone calls, you could consider installing a door-entry intercom.
Moving Around Your Home
If you are having difficulty moving around a property, think about the risks related to floor surfaces, lighting, clutter and trip hazards such as exposed wires.
If you use a wheelchair, do you have enough room to manoeuvre your chair around each room and from room to room? If the ability to turn from a corridor into a room is inhibited by the door and corridor width, it may be possible to widen the door frame.
Getting Up and Down Stairs: If the facilities in your property – your toilet, bathroom, and kitchen – are on different floors you may find it increasingly difficult to keep using the stairs. It may be possible to install a second banister rail on the stairs, fit a stair lift install a through-floor wheelchair lift. The size and layout of your home will affect which adaptations are possible.
Getting Up and Dressed
Getting in and out of bed, or up from a chair, becomes difficult for many older people. If you are in this situation you will find that the height of a piece of furniture strongly affects how easy it is to get on and off it. Items called raisers can be fitted to beds and chairs to increase their height.
You can also get powered riser-recliner chairs and specialist beds that raise the user into a position where they can stand or lower the user into a sitting or lying position.
Washing, Bathing and Using the Toilet
Loss of mobility and balance can make it increasingly difficult to wash and bathe or to use the toilet in a standard bathroom. There is a range of equipment and adaptations that may be of use. Depending on your needs it may be better to remove the bath altogether and install a ‘wet room’ or level-access shower, which often have a wall-attached seat to assist those who cannot stand for long periods.
In the Kitchen
There are various pieces of equipment that can assist with preparing and consuming food and drink. Some are available in supermarkets; others are available from specialist mobility stores. If you have difficulty standing to prepare food you could use a perching stool, which is designed to allow a near-standing position but supports you at the same time. If you require a wheelchair-accessible kitchen it may be necessary to install adjustable height work surfaces with adequate space underneath to allow the correct position for carrying out tasks.
Help with Costs
All community equipment and adaptations costing less than £1000 are provided and fitted free of charge if the local authority has assessed you as needing them. This type of adaptation will usually be recommended by an occupational therapist following an assessment visit. Its main advantage is that it can be carried out relatively promptly to meet urgent needs. Adaptations costing over £1000 are funded using Disabled Facilities Grant, which may take months to process and complete.
The Government intends to integrate the provision of equipment and adaptations into personal and individual budgets. Other Ways of Funding Adaptations: If you are unable to secure funding from a Disabled Facilities Grant you may wish to contact your local authority about help with home improvements. They can offer different types of help and each local authority will have its own criteria of the type of help offered and the conditions you must meet. There are also various schemes to help older homeowners release some of the equity tied up in their home to fund repairs, improvements and adaptations. This enables older homeowners to obtain extra capital and /or income from their homes while continuing to live there.
The OA will consider applications for financial assistance, and providing eligibility rules have been satisfied, help with the cost of care and disability aids will be considered. We may not be able to assist where the Local Authority has a statutory obligation to help. However, if need is established and the Local Authority does not have a statutory duty to help, or the local Authority is unable to offer any funding, we will consider the case on its own merits. The Care plan and Occupational Therapist reports will be required to help the Benevolence Committee consider the details of the case and to decide if the Officers’ Association can offer any assistance.
If You Have Health Needs
Your GP can give you information about local services. These might include home visits from the district nurse or health visitor, chiropody, continence advice and other services. Service levels are set locally so may vary from area to area. In England there should be a local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to provide support and information about health services to patients, carers and families in the area.
New Government policy called Personalisation may now offer people more choice and support, which may be tailored to their needs. For more information, please refer to the Age UK website and read Personal budgets and Social Care and Self-directed support.