Family carers, is this the best option?

Family carers, is this the best option?

  • By chloe
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  • Apr 26, 2018

Many people with care needs wish if at all possible to receive the help and assistance they need from family carers, perhaps their partner or other family member.

Some people have, or feel they have, no choice. All of this is understandable. Unpaid carers are in fact absolutely vital to the whole care system, saving the country around £119 billion per year.

YtB feels it is really important that people make an active choice to receive support from family carers rather than feel forced to accept that as the only option. There are a range of Care Choices that can be explored on this site, including the option of a Paid Carer, where it is possible to build a relationship of trust and mutual respect more easily perhaps than where care might be provided by a succession of people employed by an agency.

Unpaid or Family Carers

Being a carer for a family member can be very rewarding – you are caring for someone you love.  However, it’s also important to be aware of the possible consequences for the unpaid carer in terms of the impact on their health or general quality of life if they have to provide care 24 hours a day. This can put a strain on both the carer and the relationship they have with the person they care for.   It can also result in greater social isolation for the person who is being cared for. Contact with people other than family can be really important to provide variety and a sense of being part of the wider world.

Making a Plan

In making a plan people should consider the possibility of a mixed package of care, where the care from family is supported and supplemented by other resources – paid for by the Local Authority or self-funded, or involving voluntary workers or other people in the community. This can either be in order to help a family carer have a rest or because sometimes someone else is better placed to help e.g they may be more able to push the wheelchair or might have the knowledge and experience to provide specific help…

Approaching the Local Authority (LA)

Unpaid Carers are entitled to support from the Local Authority through Carers Allowance and employers are required to consider flexible working arrangements – see our article on help for family carers.

If you approach your LA for help, and there are family on hand for the person who needs care, either living with or close by, the LA may assume that the family member can provide for any needs, so it is important in advance of any kind of assessment interview to think about and talk through any ways this may work or may be difficult.

You should make any difficulties clear to the LA when they ask (find further important advice on this on our page about Care Assessment). The carer or potential carer is also entitled to their own Carers Assessment, and this can be easier if this is a separate discussion to the care assessment. The LA will probably assume that it is OK to carry out both assessments at the same time, but you do have a right to ask for it to be two separate discussions.

If the LA ends up offering a Personal Budget then you should be aware that you are entitled to use that Budget to pay your family to care for you, if the family member does not live with you on a regular basis. Under normal circumstances you will not be allowed to pay them if they do live with you. There may be exceptional circumstances where this would be allowable, so if you want to consider this, then take advice before speaking to the LA.

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