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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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3.2 People and organisations who can advocate for you

If advocating for yourself does not seem to be working you can get support. For expert advice see [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] or Hft (search for ‘Care act guide’).

These websites have advice about:

  • your rights
  • being clear about what the problem is and what needs to change
  • keeping good records
  • ways of resolving disagreements directly with your local authority
  • making a formal complaint, for example to your local authority’s monitoring officer, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and your MP. Mencap also has advice about this, including a template for letters of complaint (search for ‘challenge decision’ on their website)
  • seeking legal aid.

There are certain circumstances where you have a right to have an advocate to speak up for you – it’s worth contacting advocacy organisations in your local area. You can also ask your local authority for details of advocacy services you can access. In addition, carers organisations and centres offer advocacy guides and services.

Activity 4 How can an advocate help me?

Timing: Allow 10 minutes

Many people are not sure what advocates actually do. Listen to what Gail has to say about the role of advocates and how they can help you when you are in the process of planning future care for your relative. Make some notes if you wish.

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Gail talks about how specialist advocates in her network can help carers. As you will have seen, having an advocate can be really useful. Here is a list of the sort of things they can do to help you:

  • listen to you and your concerns e.g. about services
  • put you in touch with other parents
  • help you understand choices
  • provide you with information
  • help you say what you want and don’t want to say
  • support you to make your own decisions
  • accompany you to assessment and meetings
  • help you think about nominating someone who can advocate for your relative if you are no longer able to do this.