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Home care: how to find the care you need at home

If you're having trouble with everyday tasks around the home, there's help available. There are a range of services available, whether you need help with housework or with personal care or with getting in and out of bed. 

What is home care?

Home care services can help you to look after yourself and your home so that you can stay independent for longer. 

There are lots of home care services available, depending on what kind of help you need. Your local authority will decide if you're eligible for these services or for home carers or a personal assistant. The kinds of services available to help you in your own home include:

  • getting in and out of bed
  • washing
  • preparing meals
  • cleaning
  • fitting equipment to adapt your home, like stairlifts
  • going to a day centre

Home care offers care without long-term commitment. For example, you may just need help with everyday tasks while you're recovering from an illness. When you're feeling better, you may not need the extra help anymore. 

How do I arrange home care?

Ideally, arranging home care starts with getting a care needs assessment through your local council. You shouldn't be charged for a care needs assessment, and you're entitled to one regardless of your income and savings.

Find your local council

You just need your postcode to get started.

After your assessment, if you're eligible for support, you'll get a care plan that sets out what needs you have and what help you could get to meet those needs.

If you don't meet the criteria for support, your local council should give you information and advice on the other options available to you. 

Find out more about the care needs assessment

Will I have to pay for home care?

Most local councils charge for the services they provide in your home, but before charging you, they must work out how much you can afford to pay. 

If you had a care needs assessment, you'll also have a financial assessment to work out whether you're entitled to help with the cost of your care. 

When the council is working out how much you can be charged, they must make sure you're left with a minimum level of income for day-to-day costs, known as your 'Minimum Income Guarantee' (MIG). You must also be left with money for housing-related costs, like rent.

Find out more about the financial assessment

Can I arrange my own home care?

If you're eligible for financial support, then you can arrange your own care through direct payments. These are regular payments paid by the council directly to you, or a person you trust, to spend on services that meet your care needs as set out in your care plan. 

In England, direct payments are one way of spending your personal budget. This is a budget to arrange and pay for your care and support. If you don't want to arrange your care yourself, the council can manage your personal budget and arrange the services for you. 

Find out more about personal budgets and direct payments

Where should I look if I'm arranging home care myself?

When arranging home care for yourself, it's important that you make sure that the provider you choose is appropriately accredited.

  • You can get help with things such as housework, shopping and personal care through private agencies, but these agencies must be registered with the .
  • The  can give you details of home care providers that follow its code of practice.
  • Your local council's adult social services department should be able to provide you with details of approved private care agencies.
  • It can also be worth asking friends or relatives for recommendations of care providers that they've used.

Can I get help with housework and gardening?

Most local councils don’t provide support if you just need help with housework, gardening or shopping.

Contact your local ͵͵ or search for help in your local area from the  to see whether they may be able to help you with these kinds of daily tasks.

It may still be a good idea to get an assessment by your local council to discuss your options, even if they're not able to help with these tasks.

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We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local ͵͵s.

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Last updated: Jun 21 2024

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