Here at Dementia UK, we understand the complexities of navigating a social care system which is far from sufficiently resourced and funded. Whilst the Health and Social Care Levy will lead to more funding for the social care system, the reality is that no one is clear on what this means for the increasing numbers of people who will come to rely on social care – a large number of whom will be living with dementia.
Whilst we anticipate that social care will still be an ongoing issue over the years, we have put together steps that you can take to get the most out of the main assessments.
The main assessments
The main assessments which you need to pay attention to with regard to social care are the Carer’s Assessment and the Needs Assessment under the Community Care Act. The Carer’s Assessment would just be for the carer. The Needs Assessment is for the cared for. You can have one without the other, or you can have both.
If you are supporting someone through their personal care routine, managing their finances and other aspects of practical life as well as providing emotional support, then you would be classed as a carer. Regardless of whether you’re coping with these activities or not, you would still be eligible for support.
If a person with dementia is also reluctant for care and lacks understanding of their care needs, then a Carer’s Assessment can provide support on the basis of the carer’s needs alone. After all, support for the carer ultimately helps the person with dementia.
Getting the most out of your social care assessments
Important information from the outset
Have an understanding of what social care is and how it can help you. Social care is any support that is needed for activities of daily living including washing, eating, dressing and going to the toilet
Any granting of social care would be needs based – just because you’ve got a condition does not automatically mean that you will be eligible for support
Don’t be afraid of the word assessment. It’s about having a conversation with professionals to understand your situation and establish eligibility for support. Having a little bit of help increases your independence, it doesn’t take it away
Before the assessment
A person with dementia can request an assessment independently. Another person such as a carer, relative, GP, doctor or other health and social professionals may also request this on their behalf after gaining consent from the person
If a person no longer has the mental capacity to decide, another person can still make the request on their behalf providing it is in the best interests of the person. It might be helpful to provide the social worker with as much information before the assessment to enable them to have a clear understanding of the person with dementia’s care needs. Please see the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for more information
Negotiate the time of your assessment so you have the best capacity to be able to engage
You can consider having the Needs Assessment completed at the same time as the Carer’s Assessment as this can give the social care worker a more comprehensive account of the needs of the person with dementia and the carer, particularly if the person with dementia does not understand how much care and support they actually need
During the assessment
Be mindful of language during your assessments. It’s about being clear in terms of what you’re asking for and why you’re asking for it. Some families can outline what they’re already coping with, but because they sometimes don’t say that they’re no longer willing to go through something, then social workers can assume that the need has been met. And remember: just because you’re prompting someone to get dressed, doesn’t mean that they are capable of doing this themselves. Ask yourself whether they’d manage if you weren’t there
You can write a note, if you don’t feel comfortable saying something in front of the person with dementia. This can be taken into account when assessing eligibility for your particular case
Before an assessment, it is a good idea to note down any needs that you have and think about those needs that other people such as a carer or relatives are currently supporting you with and what is important to you and them. You can also ask the Local Authority for a list of questions in advance so you can spend time considering these
It is helpful to have a family member, friend or anyone else that you trust to be with you at the assessment to support you and/or offer their views and explain the support they provide
Legal and financial information
Benefits for people with dementia are not widely publicised, and dementia can create financial worries. We’ve collated a variety of information about the benefit entitlements which may be available to you if you’re living with dementia
Our work in partnership with The Care and Support Alliance
Social care isn’t fixed – that’s why we’re working in partnership with the Care and Support Alliance (CSA) to highlight the challenges that millions of older people, disabled people and their carers are facing and the change that is needed