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Topic Benefits advice

Read weekly blogs from benefits advisor Tom. Post questions, share experiences around financial support in the conversations, message Tom privately or book an online ‘live chat’ session.

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Caring for our mother

Started by Anonymous on 09 May 2017 at 14:57

My sister and I both have cancer and are undergoing treatment. Our mother is 88, lives independently at home but we are both her main carers. She has started ringing in the night rather confused which is challenging. Can anyone offer advice where we can seek help and support from the government with care at home? 

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  • Picture of Tombenefits
    From Tombenefits  
    11 May 2017 at 18:57
    Edited on: 11 May 2017 at 19:00


    I'm Tom, the Online Centre Benefits Advisor mentioned by Sue :-)

    One of the first questions I have to ask is whereabouts you live? I don't mean your postcode just the local council area that you both and your mother come under. 

    I will keep to a general answer here for other readers of this post, but please message me if you would like to talk on a private one to one basis.


    1. Local social services/work support

    It varies because the main place for getting some practical help will be your local council's social services (or social work in Scotland) department. You can request both an assessment of needs for your mother and a carers assessment for yourselves. Your mother's GP can also be  useful in getting to that help.

    Within that process, you can also get advice about the range of support from other voluntary sectors agencies that might be operating in your area. Just a befriending service can offer a trained volunteer to help keep an eye on things  

    The assessment will explore what services you and your mother needs - eg some adaptions or equiment, might help her retain independence, home care visits, day centres, overnight sitting, respite care and so on 


    2. Disabled Facilities Grants

    More substantial alterations and equipment might need Disabled Facilities Grants, whre social services play a part in the assessment but a grants section, often based in housing may do assessment and support with any works needed. 

    In some areas there is a Care and Repair service or other initiative that seeks to join all this up. Otherwise it will be down to the social worker doing the assessment.


    3 There may charges

    Both the support from social services and grants usually have an element of charging, so your mother may have to make a financial contribution, depending on her income and resources. 

    The maximum contribution may still be less than the full cost of the services provided. Even when not, it is still helpful to have that extra expertise in actually knowing what kind of support services are out there and could make a real difference.


    4 Differences across the nations

    How much help will be offered is partly down to the assessed needs and partly down to resources in your area.

    Things are particularly difficult in England where local funding for social care has taken a bigger hit in order to protect NHS budgets. In Scotland and Wales, health and social care have been looked at together.


    5. Help from benefits

    The other area to explore is to check if you , your sister and your mother are claiming all the benefits that you are entitled to. Some of these will depend on income, but many do not.

    Any extra unclaimed income can always help whether to meet any social services charges or to be an additional resource for support needs that you and your mother may have.


    And so...

    Please feel free to message me if you would like to explore benefits or too check out what may be available locally in your area.

    But it would be great if others can join in with their own experiences and things they have found helpful in similar situations.

    Best wishes


  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    09 May 2017 at 16:20
    Edited on: 09 May 2017 at 16:22


    It sounds a challenging time for both you and your sister - going through cancer treatment, and also being the main carer for your mum. Tiring and worrying for you all...

    If she's getting more confused, has she been assessed by the GP? Ruling out any particular physical new illness, then her forgetfulness, may be the beginnings of dementia. Hard for you - and hard for her.

    You're wise to be looking into what help and support is available for you. You may find some of the information you're looking for in 'How to find help you need at home' from Age UK website. Another webpage 'Care services in your home' has some useful information.

    It might be worth having a word with your mum's GP, and talking through this new development, and see what local resources are available to you.

    Our benefits advisor, Tom (Tombenefits), may also have some advice for you, which I'm sure he'll add here when he's next online.

    A final thought for now, is possibly giving Dementia.UK helpline a ring (0800 888 6678), to ask for support and advice regarding helping your mum maintain her independence for as long as possible - and check what support is available for you both as carers.

    I hope this information helps for a message Robyn or myself if you'd like to talk anything through further.

    Warm wishes





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