What You Need to Know If You’ve Never Had To Think About Care Funding Before

One result of the Covid pandemic is that many older people find it harder to cope with everyday life and may need care for the first time. This might be because they caught the virus and are making a slow recovery, or because the extended lockdowns affected their physical and mental wellbeing.

Research by Age UK found that people with dementia often found that their condition deteriorated because of reduced social contact and activity. Many others are struggling with basic tasks such as cooking, cleaning, shopping and personal hygiene.

People who were able to live independently before the pandemic are now discovering that they have a care need. For many this is the first look into the complex world of care funding as they try to find out whether they can get help to pay for their care or will have to cover the cost for themselves.

If you have less than £23,250 in savings it’s possible that your local council will cover some of the cost. If you have more than this saved you will have to pay for your care.

In some circumstances you may be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare. The rules for this are not clear cut but if you have an ongoing physical or mental health condition it’s an option worth exploring as the NHS will cover the cost of your care.

Care Needs Assessment

The first step is usually to get a care needs assessment from your local council. You can arrange this through your GP or by contacting social services. A care needs assessment is free and anyone can ask for one. If you need care the council will carry out a means test to check whether you’re eligible for funding.

A lot of councils have a backlog of care needs assessments at the moment so there could be a delay. Some people are choosing to contact a care provider directly if they don’t think there’s a realistic chance of the council paying for their care.

The financial assessment looks at the following:

  • earnings
  • pensions
  • benefits (including Attendance Allowance or PIP)
  • savings
  • property (including overseas property)

If you receive care in your own home the value of your property will not be included in the assessment. It will be included for residential care unless you have a spouse, civil partner or dependant relative still living in the home. 

Financial assessments should be repeated annually as your savings may have dropped to the level where you will become eligible. A word of caution: giving money away or hiding assets to avoid paying for care won’t work.

Personal Budgets

If you qualify for care funding you will be given a personal budget. You can opt to arrange your own care and receive your budget as a monthly payment into your bank account (you will need to keep receipts to prove you are spending it on care services). Alternatively, the council can organise and pay for your care on your behalf and send you a regular bill for your contribution.

If you are fully self-funding the council may still help you find a suitable care provider. Or you can simply choose for yourself and not involve the council. 

If you have any questions about what type of care would suit you best and how to pay for it the team at Altogether Care will be happy to help. Contact us on 01305 206 140 to find out more.


How To Rebuild Confidence And Enjoy Life After Lockdown

Covid-19 has been life-changing for many older people, including those who didn’t contract the virus. Lockdown was a difficult experience. As a result many older people feel more isolated, less confident about going out or socialising and often less physically able.

The mental and physical wellbeing of many people has been badly affected. But – and this is the important bit – this can be reversed. There’s no reason why the majority of older people shouldn’t get back to enjoying active and fulfilling lives with a bit of help and support.

Here are some basic guidelines that will help you regain your confidence to live life a little more normally. There’s plenty more information available online but the first step is to tell yourself ‘I’m going to do this.’

Start By Eating Well

Many older people report feeling less able to prepare their own meals as a result of lockdown. So they don’t eat regularly. Or they eat less healthy foods that don’t take much effort and have comforting extra calories.

First point: don’t beat yourself up about this if it sounds like you. It’s a fairly normal reaction in a time of anxiety and you’re not alone. But also tell yourself: ‘that was then, this is now. I’m focused on the future.’

Mental and physical wellbeing starts with good nutrition. A balanced diet makes sure that we have the vitamins and minerals our bodies and minds need to function properly. We also need energy to gradually take more exercise and help our bones and muscles get back to normal. If we feel well because we are eating well we’re also less likely to feel anxiety.

It might be worth considering using a care at home service for a while just to help with meal preparation. The aim of this would be to help you get back to the stage where you are ready to take on the task of making healthy meals for yourself.

Research by Age UK also found that 41% of the people they surveyed were finding it harder to clean and tidy their home. This is another area where a care at home service can help.


Confidence is largely about feeling we have the strength and mobility to go out and do things without getting into problems or falling over. Getting back to normal levels of mobility may take a while but the most important thing is to start. 

Aim to walk as far as you can, as quickly as you can. At first this might be to the end of the street or even just around the house. That’s fine. Start with whatever you can manage and then gradually build it up. There are plenty of items around the house such as tins of beans or bags of flour that you can use as improvised weights to rebuild muscle strength.


The knowledge that older people are among the most vulnerable to Covid-19 made many anxious about going out – even for a short walk.

The good news is that for double vaccinated people, the risk of becoming seriously ill appears to be low. As you improve your nutrition and fitness your risk will fall even further.

The best advice seems to be to take things slowly at first and gradually build up your confidence. Again, the important thing is to get started and progressively push your limits. Outings with a friend, family member or carer are a helpful way to become accustomed to being out and about, while knowing that there’s somebody to keep an eye on you.

If you’re concerned about an elderly relative whose confidence and wellbeing have been affected by the lockdown, Altogether Care will be happy to offer advice. We may also be able to arrange a temporary care at home support package. To find out more about the services at Altogether Care, contact 01305 206 140.


Some recent day to day activities