There are times when some people find it difficult to look after themselves at home. This can happen gradually, or because of a sudden illness or accident.
Many people in this position will be able to stay at home with help from their family and friends, and the right care and support.
You can talk to a social worker, a volunteer or community agent at a Community Connect drop-in. You can find all the dates and venues on the Connect Somerset website
The team at the drop-in can help with everything, from finding a local social group and support with money, to help with transport or support for carers – and you may find an alternative to help you stay in your own home for longer.
For some people, a move to sheltered housing or another type of accommodation may be a good alternative. For others, a care home may provide the level of care and support they need.
Choosing the right care home
Choosing the right care home is important.
Paying for a care home place
If you think you might need help in paying towards a care home place, a Social Care Worker can visit you and complete an assessment to see if you are eligible.
If, following your assessment, it is agreed that moving to a residential or nursing home will be the best way for you to be cared for, we can help you with the process if you have no one else to help you.
We recommend that you get independent advice. There are several organisations that can help you. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) registers and inspects all care homes. They publish reports on the Care Quality Commission website about the quality of care homes, which we recommend you look at before making a decision.
See a map of Care Quality Commission ratings of Somerset care locations on the Somerset Intelligence website.
The CQC is also the organisation you should go to if you have a complaint about a care home. To find out more, go to the CQC website.
Extra Care Housing
If you are finding it more difficult to live in and maintain your home, you may be considering different housing options. If you have some low-level support needs, one option is Sheltered Housing. If you have a higher level of care and support needs, Extra Care Housing could be a good option.
Extra Care Housing is:
- Your own home within a supported housing scheme
- On-site staff on call 24 hours a day
- Access to on-site communal facilities
Extra Care Housing allows you to live as independently as possible, in the security and privacy of your own home, but gives you the peace of mind that someone is on call if you need any help. Extra Care is a form of housing with self-contained, accessible and affordable one or two bedroomed flats or bungalows that you can rent. They are purpose-built or adapted to support people who have care and support needs.
If you have regular care and support needs, they can be met by the onsite team of care and support workers. Your support is tailored to your own situation, and can easily be adjusted if your needs change.
You can have help with things like:
- Washing, dressing and personal care
- Preparing snacks and heating up meals
- Shopping and laundry (privately purchased)
- Some domestic tasks (privately purchased
- Reminders to take medicines (as part of a care package)
There is also a night time on-site member of staff who you can call in an emergency by activating a lifeline, which is available in each property. Communal facilities are also provided. These vary between schemes, but may include a lounge, craft and day rooms with organised activities, laundry, garden and guest rooms, library, hairdressing, and lunch time meals are available at most schemes.
They are also often located very close to local shops and local amenities.
All Extra Care schemes have on-site staff who are responsible for delivering housing related support, which includes:
- Checking you are okay each day
- Help with correspondence
- Assistance in making health appointments, for example, with your GP
- Helping you deal with money matters
- Helping with housing and tenancy related issues
- Helping you to access other services, such as a handyman service
- Helping you to and from the dining room to have a hot meal (there will be a charge for the meal)
- Managing the building
Extra Care Housing schemes in Somerset
Aster Communities, Lettings Manager phone 01749 832061 or Lettings Co-ordinator phone 01749 832060
Schemes – Keyford Heights, Frome
Homes in Sedgemoor, Customer Services phone 0800 585360 or from a mobile 01278 552400
Schemes – Gibb House, Bridgwater, Hilda Coles House, Bridgwater, Elizabeth Court, Burnham-on-Sea
Live West, Scheme Manager phone 07921 386984 or Older Peoples Team Manager phone 07921 386975
Scheme – Tennyson Court, Taunton
Sanctuary Housing, Scheme Manager phone 01823 325533
Scheme – Elizabeth House, Taunton
Somerset West and Taunton, Fay Hayes, phone 07557 317323
Schemes – Kilkenny, Taunton, Lodge Close, Wellington
Magna West Somerset, Danielle Jennings, phone 01643 705862
Schemes – Silvermead, Minehead
Abri, Independent Living, phone 01935 404042
Schemes – St Gildas, Chard, Muchelney House, Ilminster, Bowhayes Lodge, Crewkerne, Pearson House, Yeovil, Malmesbury Court, Yeovil
Eligibility and applying for Extra Care Housing
To apply for Extra Care Housing, you must first contact the landlord to talk about your needs (please see their contact details in the section above). If they think you may be eligible, they will invite you to visit the scheme.
A Trusted Assessor from our Care Providers, or an Adult Social Care Worker will help assess your care and support needs in the first instance. Applicants who it is felt would benefit from ECH will ultimately require a full needs assessment by Adult Social Care. Adult Social Care and the landlord are responsible for agreeing who can move into Extra Care and who has priority. This is because Adult Social Care contributes money to all the elements of the scheme that makes it “Extra” care, for example, the 24-hour available support.
If it is felt that your needs could be met by a different housing and support solution, this will be explained to you. A Panel meets to discuss and allocate eligible applicants monthly, but there may be a waiting time for some accommodation.
Paying for living in the scheme can be split into three defined areas. With the second and third of these areas you may be entitled to financial support from social care.
- Accommodation costs
You must discuss what the rent and any associated accommodation cost will be. Also, ask about annual cost increases. You will always be responsible for meeting these costs. Rent is for the use and occupation of your home. In addition to your rent there will be a service charge which will cover items such as:
- Cleaning and servicing communal areas
- Refuse services
- Fire alarms, detection and fire-fighting equipment
- Door entry maintenance
- Lighting and heating in communal areas
- Maintaining communal equipment
All of the above charges are set and collected by the housing provider. Depending on your income you may qualify for Housing Benefit to help towards your rent. Your landlord will help you to apply for this.
- Care and Support Cover
As well as the accommodation costs, there is a standard amount that is payable towards the 24-hour on-site staff team, who can respond if you need them. If you have eligible care or support needs, you will be financially assessed and pay what you can afford. If you do not have eligible care and support needs, you will have to pay the full amount. This is a social care charge which will be collected by the on-site providers.
- Care costs (Individual care needs)
Following your care assessment, if you have additional care needs, for example to help you get up, washed and dressed, you can choose to buy in homecare. Care costs will be paid to and collected by your care provider.
If you move into Extra Care Housing and you have eligible Care or support needs (or both) as described in the Care Act 2014, which have been assessed by us, you will be offered a financial assessment from Adult Social Care. They will talk with you about your finances and, using national rules, work out one weekly contribution you must pay which will be towards both your care and support cover and care costs (individual care needs).
People with more than £23,250 in savings will not be eligible for help towards their care and support costs. (Capital assets, such as property, will be discussed as part of the financial assessment).
Financial and Benefit Assessments will not be offered to anyone who has not been assessed as eligible by the local authority.
If you are a couple thinking of moving into an Extra Care Housing scheme, the standard weekly unit charge will normally be split 50/50 between the two of you.
If you both have assessed eligible care needs, you will both be offered a financial assessment to work out your weekly contribution based on what you can afford.
If one of you has eligible care needs and the other does not, the cost of the on-site care and support service will be equally divided. The person with eligible needs will pay their financially assessed contribution.
If there is a change in your circumstances, and you are one of a couple without eligible care needs, you will become responsible for the full charge of the on-site care and support service (see number 2 above). If you are one of a couple with eligible care needs, you will continue to pay your financially assessed contribution.
Independent financial advice
We understand that you may be making important changes about how you live and need all the best information and help so that the decisions you make are right for you.
There are many organisations that you can either phone or arrange to visit to talk things through.
Remember, if you get financial advice and they are recommending ways that you should invest or use your money against specific financial products, they must be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Check the Financial Conduct Authority website to see what this means.