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Having a paid carer come to visit you in your home can make a huge difference to your life, especially if you have difficulty walking or getting around. It can help you stay living independently in your own home.

This type of care is known as 'homecare' or 'domiciliary care', or sometimes 'home help'. Sometimes, the council can contribute towards the cost.

Homecare is very flexible. You might need a paid carer for only an hour a week or for several hours a day. You might need a live-in carer.

It can be temporary – for example for a few weeks while you recover from an illness. Or it can be long term.

When should I consider help at home from a paid carer?

You might want to consider care at home if:

  • you're finding it difficult to cope with daily routines, such as washing, dressing and getting out and about
  • you do not want to move into a care home
  • you can still get about your home and it's safe for you to live in – or it can be adapted to make it safe

How can homecare help me?

A paid carer can visit you at home to help you with all kinds of things including:

  • getting out of bed in the morning
  • washing and dressing
  • brushing your hair
  • using the toilet
  • preparing meals and drinks
  • remembering to take your medicines
  • doing your shopping
  • collecting prescriptions or your pension
  • getting out, for example to a lunch club
  • getting settled in the evening and ready for bed

Home help

This is slightly different to homecare and means day-to-day domestic tasks that you may need a helping hand with such as:

  • cleaning (including putting on clean bed sheets)
  • doing the washing up
  • doing the laundry
  • gardening

You might want some home help instead of or as well as homecare.

Most councils do not provide home help. Contact a charity such as the Royal Voluntary Service, the British Red Cross or your local Age UK to see whether they can help (they may not be free).

How to get help at home from a paid carer

  • Buckinghamshire Council can arrange homecare for you if you're eligible for it
  • you can arrange your own homecare

How your council can help

If you want the council to help with homecare for you, you can apply for an assessment. The assessment will help the council to decide whether you're eligible for care.

If you're eligible, the council may recommend help at home from a paid carer. They will arrange the homecare for you.

If you're not eligible for care, the council will still give you free advice about where you can get help in your community.

Even if you're intending to make arrangements yourself with an agency or private carer, it's still a good idea to have an assessment as it will help you to explain to the agency or carer what kind of help you need.

Paying for homecare

Depending on your circumstances, Buckinghamshire Council may contribute to the cost of homecare or you may have to pay for it yourself.

If your assessment recommends homecare, you may get help with the cost from the council.

What you'll contribute depends on your income and savings. The council will work this out in a financial assessment.

If the council is paying for some or all of your homecare, we will give you a care and support plan.

This sets out what your needs are, how they will be met and your personal budget (the amount the council thinks your care should cost).

You can choose to receive your personal budget as a direct payment each month. This gives you the control to employ someone you know to care for you at home rather than using a homecare agency, though you'll then have responsibilities as an employer.

If you're not eligible for the council to contribute to your homecare costs, you'll have to pay for it yourself.

How to choose a paid carer

If you're arranging your own homecare, there are 2 main ways to do this:

  • use a homecare agency
  • employ your own carer

Homecare agencies

Homecare agencies employ trained carers and arrange for them to visit you in your home. You may not always have the same carer visiting your home, though the agency will try to match you with someone suitable.