Deciding what kind of support you want
There are so many different paths you can take when it comes to care and support, that it can become overwhelming trying to decide what is the right option for you.
Do you choose homecare? And if so, through an agency, hiring someone or using a local self-employed carer? Or would supported living be better, or even a residential home? Maybe a family member could help out, and if they do, would you want to pay them?
There are a lot of questions to ask, and each option comes with advantages and disadvantages. It is a lot easier to make the decision on the kind of care and support that you want to receive if you first think about what you want to achieve, what your priorities are and the things that are important to you. By coming up with a detailed plan, this will help you make an informed decision in conjunction with family, Local Authority staff or your GP.
What difficulties do you face and what can you manage?
The first, and most important, area to tackle is to look at the things that you are struggling with. What is it that has made you consider asking for help? For many people, it is just one or two areas of their life that they find hard – for example, cooking, cleaning, getting the shopping done or looking after the garden. If this is the case, then you can consider just getting individual help in these areas so that you continue with the rest of your life as normal.
Which leads on to the second part of this question: what can you manage to do? It’s good to balance out the difficulties by listing those things that you can still do comfortably, as this helps to maintain a positive outlook. Rather than focusing on what you struggle with, look at what you don’t need help with and work any extra care and support needed around that. It might be that while you need someone to take you shopping, you are happy to cook with the ingredients that you buy and you enjoy it.
What is important to you?
The next thing to think about is what is important in your life and that you wish to continue doing for as long as possible. This can be anything, such as a weekly club you go to, day trips, a hobby, pottering around the garden and so on.
It is key in making a plan to build these kinds of things in, as you are aiming to maintain your independence in as many areas as possible for as long as you can.
While you are thinking about the things that matter to you, consider the first question above – is anything stopping you from partaking in a hobby you enjoy, for example? By identifying potential pitfalls to you continuing an activity, you can begin to look for a solution with the end result being that you can carry on doing what you love.
Make a care plan
Your answers to the above will help you to form the basis of a care plan. This can be done on your own, but is usually better formed with the help of your Local Authority or family.
The care plan will look at what you want to achieve, the difficulties that you are facing in that area and a potential solution to those problems to enable you to meet your desired outcome.
Care plans can be reviewed regularly, so if something isn’t working, then you can look at another solution. You can also start looking towards the future – as things become more difficult, you may need to adapt or find new solutions to continuing achieving your goals.
Decide on care and support
Armed with this information, you can review your care and support choices again. It is likely that one or the other will stand out as the option that best suits your current needs and will enable you to live your life as you wish.
For example, if you have discovered that there are a few areas where you need help, but plenty of others where you are more than capable, it’s unlikely that you will need full residential care. You could plan to stay in your own home and employ or contract with people/agencies to fulfil certain roles, for example dine-in services, a cleaner or someone to take you shopping.