Many people with care needs wish if at all possible to receive the help and assistance they need from their partner or other family member. Some people have, or feel they have, no choice. All of this is understandable. Unpaid carers are in fact absolutely vital to the whole care system, saving the country around £119 billion per year.
YtB feels it is really important that people make an active choice to receive support from family carers rather than feel forced to accept that as the only option. There are a range of Care Choices that can be explored on this site, including the option of a Paid Carer, where it is possible to build a relationship of trust and mutual respect more easily perhaps than where care might be provided by a succession of people employed by an agency.
You should obviously be aware of the possible consequences for the unpaid carer in terms of the impact on their health or general quality of life if they have to provide care 24 hours a day. This can put a strain on them and possibly their relationship with you. There can however also be consequences for you in terms of greater social isolation. Contact with people other than your family can be really important to provide variety and a sense of being part of the wider world.
In making your plan you should consider possibly some Idea of a mixed package of care, where the care from your family is supported and supplemented by other resources - paid for by the Council or yourself, or involving voluntary workers or other people you know in the community. This can either be in order to give your loved ones a rest or because sometimes someone else is better placed to help e.g they may be more able to push the wheelchair when you go somewhere where this is more of a challenge or might have the knowledge and experience to provide you with specific help...
If you approach the Council for help, and you have family on hand, either living with you or close by, the Council may assume that the family member can provide for your needs, so it is important in advance of any kind of assessment interview to think through and talk through any ways in which this may be difficult, and make this clear to the Council when they ask (find further advice on this on our page on Care Assessment). Your carer or potential carer is also entitled to their own Carers Assessment, and this can be easier if this is a separate discussion to your own assessment. The Council will probably assume that it is OK to carry out both assessments at the same time, but you do have a right to ask for it to be two separate discussions.
If the Council ends up offering you a Personal Budget then you should be aware that you are entitled to use that Budget to pay your family to care for you, if the family member does not live with you on a regular basis. Under normal circumstances you will not be allowed to pay them if they do live with you. There may be exceptional circumstances where this would be allowable, so if you want to consider this, then take advice before speaking to the Council.
There is a lot of help for carers available, including help to continue with employment or to claim benefits to help with the cost of caring. Support may also be available for voluntary organisations and carers groups, as well as resources to provide a rest from caring responsibilities.
Advice on all these matters can come through The Carers Direct Help Line (see sources of advice and information).