Care services to help you stay in your own home

Most of us want to live independent lives in our own homes for as long as possible. The good news is that even if you’re recovering from an illness or a fall, or you need help with your long-term care, there’s a variety of support services available to help you do this.

What is home care?

Top tip

Home care isn’t for everyone. But frequent visits from carers and a few home modifications can help you retain your home comforts and independence.

Receiving care in your home is an increasingly common alternative to staying in hospital or moving into a care home.

Depending on your needs, you can receive help and support that allows you to stay in your own home as long as possible. Not only do you avoid any upheaval and stay in familiar surroundings, it can also be a more economical alternative to residential care.

What home care services are available?

The services that are offered to you will be based on an assessment carried out by your local council’s social services department (or Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland). It’s called a ‘package of care’ and will be written into your personal care plan. Services can include:

  • regular visits from home care workers to help with daily tasks and personal care
  • meals delivered to your home
  • equipment and home modifications to help with mobility and accessibility, such as getting in and out of the bath, and getting up and down stairs
  • personal fall and panic alarms that are monitored around the clock
  • support for health needs, such as incontinence
  • day care and transport to take you there
  • gardening and handyman services

Paying for long-term care at home

Top tip

If you only need a few hours help a day and your house can be adapted to your needs, care at home may be the most practical and cost-effective solution.

How much you have to pay will depend on:

  • your health and mobility
  • what level of help and support you require
  • the value of your assets

Your local authority may pay some or all the costs, but you might also have to pay for all the services yourself.

Make sure you claim all the benefits you’re entitled to – Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance (or Personal Independence Payment) are the most common.

How to arrange long-term care at home

Apply for support from your local council, usually the social services department (or Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland).

Before they can help they must carry out an assessment of your care needs.

Even if you will be arranging for and paying for the care yourself, it’s still a good idea to have a proper assessment to help you understand and decide what sort of care and support you need, and what’s available.

You can then ask the local authority to help you arrange it or contact private care agencies yourself.

Funding your own care at home – other things to think about

There are a number of options if you have to self-fund home care services including:

  • an Immediate Need Care Fee Payment Plan
  • insurance policies you or a spouse may have purchased a long time ago
  • an appropriate equity-release scheme (if you’re a homeowner)
  • downsizing to a smaller home like a bungalow

More information about care at home