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If your relative lives at home and appears to be struggling with personal care or getting out and about, they might benefit from home care services. These could help your relative with washing, dressing, going to the toilet and preparing meals. Or perhaps they would benefit from home help services, which can assist with practical tasks such as cleaning, gardening and shopping.

On this page you can find the information you need, based on your relative’s current living arrangements.

1. Living at home without care services
2. Living at home and receiving home care services
3. Living in sheltered housing
4. Living in a residential home (personal care only)
5. Living in a nursing home

Living at home without care services

Could your relative benefit from home care services? These can help with personal care such as washing, dressing and going to the toilet. Or would they benefit from home help services, which can help with practical tasks such as cleaning?

Possible actions

  • Talk to your relative.
  • Contact the local authority for a needs assessment and to see what help it can offer.
  • Consider home adaptations or equipment that might help your relative live independently in their own home.

More information 

Living at home and receiving home care services

If your relative is already receiving home care services but needs additional support at home, you could speak to their current care provider to ask them to carry out a few extra tasks or adapt the way they do things. If bigger changes are needed, you might need to review or update their care plan, or change their care provision altogether.

Possible actions

  • If care is council-funded, contact social services to request additional help. 
  • If your relative requires an additional carer or increased hours of help, their care plan may need to be reviewed and updated. 
  • If care is self-funded, contact the care agency directly about getting more support. The council or agency should then produce a revised care plan that provides the help your relative needs. 
  • If the need for care is substantial, home care services may no longer be the answer and it might be time to consider residential care.

More information 

Living in sheltered housing

If your relative lives in sheltered housing, it might be possible for them to get extra care where they currently live. If not, they may need to consider moving to get the additional help and support they need.

Possible actions

  • Does their current sheltered housing scheme offer extra care or specific help for people with certain illnesses, such as dementia? Speak to the scheme provider to find out.
  • Could your relative get outside domiciliary care services to come into their sheltered accommodation? Speak to your relative’s scheme provider and local authority to find out what’s possible.
  • Contact your relative’s local authority. If they haven’t had a needs assessment, they should get one. If their care needs have changed significantly, ask for a review.
  • If care needs have changed dramatically, it may be time to consider alternative accommodation, such as a care home.

More information 

Living in a residential home (personal care only)

If you feel that your relative’s care needs have changed, speak to the care home manager. If your relative simply requires new medication or a different level of personal care, the care manager should be able to arrange this quite easily. They can speak to the staff involved with your relative’s care to ask for their feedback. They can also re-assess your relative’s needs to ensure that the care plan they have is still meeting their needs. If necessary, they can update your relative’s care plan to provide the extra support they need.

If your relative’s needs have changed substantially and they require nursing care, they may need to move to a different care home that offers nursing care in addition to personal care.

Possible actions

  • Speak to the care manager at your relative's residential home.
  • If your relative’s residential care is funded (in full or part) by the council, contact the local authority for a review of their care needs. 
  • If your relative privately funds their own care, you may need to think about choosing a nursing home.

More information

Living in a nursing home

If you feel that your relative’s care needs have changed, speak to the care home manager. They can re-assess your relative’s needs to ensure that their care plan is still relevant. If necessary, they can update your relative’s care plan to provide the extra support they need.

Possible actions

  • Speak to the care home manager regarding your relative's care plan.
  • If you think your relative has become eligible for NHS continuing healthcare or NHS-funded care, contact their social worker or, if your relative is in a care home, discuss the position with the care home manager.

More information

Page last reviewed: May 2017
Next review due: October 2019