Where to start

A good first step is to ask your local authority for a free care assessment. They’ll look at your care needs and finances to understand what level of support you need, and how it’ll be paid for.

Even if you’re planning to pay for care yourself, it’s still wise to ask for this free assessment to help you decide what care is best for you.



The three parts of a care needs assessment

Part 1: Looking at your care and support needs
To help you and your local authority understand what sort of care is right for you.

Part 2: Deciding on the right level of care
And whether the council will provide your care or arrange it for you.

Part 3: Looking at your finances
To decide who'll cover the cost of the care you need. 

Who can ask for an assessment

Anyone who is 'ordinarily resident', meaning they consider their home to be in the local authority area, is entitled to an assessment of their care needs.

If it’s not clear which area you’re settled in, it’s up to the local authorities to settle it between themselves. But one of them needs to take responsibility for assessing your needs and, if needed, paying for your care, until they resolve this.



Support if you’re caring for a loved one

You’re also entitled to an assessment of your needs if you’re looking after a loved one as an unpaid carer. The local authority may then be able to check what state benefits you could claim and offer you respite care or training.

You can ask for a carers assessment at the same time as the local authority looks into the needs of the person needing care, or you can ask for it separately by contacting the Adult Social Care team.

Requesting a care needs assessment

To arrange an assessment, get in touch with your local authority’s Adult Social Care team. You can do this for yourself or ask a friend, family member, GP or community nurse to do this for you. If you’re arranging an assessment for someone else, you’ll need to ask their permission.

Waiting times for an assessment

There are no national rules for how quickly an assessment must be done but waiting times depend on the urgency of your need and how ‘at risk’ you are. Your council has a duty to do the assessment as soon as is appropriate and reasonable.

Need help?

Understanding your care

While they’re the most well known, care homes aren’t your only option. Find out about other potential options, such as home adaptations.

Paying for care

If you want to find out how you could pay for a retirement home, use our Care Costs Calculator.

Find care in your area

If you want to find care that's close by, you can use our Finding Care tool.