This article is taken from our spring 2020 edition of Equinox. You can view the full version here.
Getting older is fraught with worries, many of which revolve around health.
For those providing support, whether it’s for a partner, a friend or a relative, knowing how best to help as someone gets older comes with its own difficulties. When it becomes clear that help is needed, just knowing where to start can be daunting.
An additional layer of complexity is added when helping someone to manage their finances. While the state offers some financial support, such as attendance allowance or disability living allowance/personal independence payments, the array of what is offered and requirements to apply and qualify can be confusing.
You may also have to think about their environment. What’s the right chair? What aids are available? Getting these seemingly small things right can transform someone’s life.
Clearly, there is a lot to think about at a time that may already be emotionally stressful and when you may be juggling wider family needs and work alongside caring.
You’ll often need to establish what help is needed compared to any entitlement, tailoring financial and personal support from both the public and private sectors to fit an individual’s needs whilst being mindful of the wishes of the person receiving the care.
Though support may be available from the state, people with means are not typically used to accessing social support, even though they may often be entitled to various benefits.
In addition, social workers can sometimes be perceived to be intrusive and are stigmatised in the minds of
some. Social work departments are often overstretched. Because of this, they emphasise need, dealing with the most pressing, current crisis. This means you may not get access on your own terms.
An alternative option for families and individuals who need support and advice could come via a private social worker or adviser.
We recently met up with Sally Smith who founded ‘I’m worried about mum’. Equilibrium have no commercial or organisational relationship with Sally, but we were impressed by her knowledge and passion for what she does. Our clients often express concern for their loved ones, so it is a topic close to our hearts.
Sally qualified as a social worker over 25 years ago. However, it’s her personal experience of caring for her own family that allowed her to see the issues from both sides. Sally works with families to ensure that care is properly thought through and an appropriate, personalised plan is put in place for each person and their family.
At a time that can often feel overwhelming, the support of people like Sally can take pressure off families. This may be through simple practical advice around state financial support and help completing forms, through to carrying out a mental capacity assessment, or providing guidance and advice when selecting a residential care home.
As a professional service, there is a cost. However, the benefit of taking away the worry that comes with providing support, along with the reassurance that you are doing the right thing and your loved one is receiving the best care, could be priceless.
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