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Caring for an older family member with learning disabilities
Caring for an older family member with learning disabilities

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2.3 Know what your local authority should do to help you

If you live in the UK, your local authority is your key point of contact so it is important to know what you can expect from this relationship. If you do not live in the UK it’s worth finding out what is the equivalent point of contact.

An image of a woman holding a man’s hand supportively.

Things to remember are:

  • The person you care for is entitled to an annual assessment of all their support needs. As their carer you also have a right to separate assessment of your needs which should not assume that you are willing and able to continue to provide the level of care you are currently providing. Contact your local authority to request an assessment.
  • When the assessments are carried out show the assessor(s) what things would be like on the worst day; you may have been managing tricky situations for a long time but don’t underplay things if you are struggling. Tell them if you think there is a risk of a crisis. In addition you need to make sure that the assessor considers what the needs of the person for whom you care would be if you were not there.
  • When the person you care for is assessed as having a need that your local authority is responsible for, an assessment of income and savings will be carried out. This is to see how much the local authority will contribute towards the care needed.
  • Your wellbeing and that of the person for whom you care should be at the heart of all local authority decision making.
  • Your local authority should tell you about all options – you should not be offered just one option.
  • Do not wait until you are reaching a crisis – local authorities should aim to prevent a crisis and they should be prepared to engage in future planning when you contact them.