Finding your way around the guide
To navigate between pages, click or tap the arrows to go forwards to the next page or backwards to the previous one. The arrows can be found either side of the page and at the bottom, too (circled in green, below).
Menu/table of contents
Click or tap on the three horizontal lines in the top-right of your screen to open the main menu/table of contents. This icon is always visible whether you're using a computer, tablet or smartphone. The menu will open on top of the page you’re on. Click on any section title to visit that section. Click the cross at any time to close the table of contents.
On a computer, you'll see three different sized letter 'A's in the top-right of your screen. On a smartphone or tablet these are visible when you open the menu (see above). If you’re having trouble reading the guide, click or tap on each of the different 'A's to change the size of the text to suit you.
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Where we think a group of images will be most useful to you, we've grouped them together in an image gallery. Simply use the blue left and right arrows to scroll through the carousel of pictures.
If you see a word or phrase that's bold and dark blue, you can click or tap on it to find out more. The relevant website will open in a new tab.
If you see a word or phrase underlined, click or tap on the word and small window will pop up with a short explanation. Close this pop-up by clicking or tapping the cross in the corner.
On a computer, you'll see a question mark icon in the top-right of your screen. On a smartphone or tablet this is visible when you open the menu (see above).
Clicking or tapping on the question mark will open this user guide. It opens on top of the page you're on and you can close it any time by clicking or tapping the cross in the top-right corner.
Some of the important services, organisations and technical terms covered in this guide, explained in simple English – and where to read more.
- Assistive technology: technology designed to help someone with a disability or medical need do things more easily (see the section Living independently)
- Attendance allowance: a payment for those aged 65 or over who need help with personal care due to illness or disability (see the section Boost your income)
- Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales: the independent regulator for care homes in Wales (see the section When to consider a care home)
- Care Inspectorate: the independent regulator for care homes in Scotland (see the section When to consider a care home)
- Care Quality Commission (CQC): the independent regulator for care homes in England (see the section When to consider a care home)
- Carer’s assessment: an appraisal of what help and support an unpaid carer may be entitled to (see the section Caring for carers)
- Constant attendance allowance: an additional payment for those who are ill or disabled as a result of an accident or illness caused by work (see the section Boost your income)
- Domiciliary care: care provided to someone in their own home (see the section Care in the home)
- Equity release: a mortgage which is chiefly repaid when the house is sold. Can free up cash, but is often expensive (see the section How to pay for care)
- Extra-care housing: Sheltered housing that offers additional help with personal care (also known as ‘very sheltered housing’ or ‘assisted living’) (see the section Moving out)
- Financial assessment: the means test used by local authorities to assess whether someone is eligible for financial support towards the cost of their care needs (see the section The cost of care)
- Guarantee credit: a type of pension credit for people with low incomes (see the section Boost your income)
- Inheritance tax: tax on the estate of someone who has died (see the section Looking ahead)
- Live-in care: When a careworker lives in their client’s home (see the section Care in the home)
- Needs assessment: used by local authority social services to decide the type of care and support needed by someone (see the section Care in the home)
- NHS continuing healthcare: care fully funded by the NHS for people over 18 who’ve been assessed as having complex medical needs – this can be at home or in a nursing home (see the section The cost of care)
- NHS intermediate care: free care and support at home or in a care home for up to six weeks following, or to prevent, a stay in hospital (see the section Care in the home)
- Nursing home: a residential care home that offers medical care, with full-time nursing cover (see the section When to consider a care home)
- Pension credit: a means-tested payment to top up a retired person’s income to a guaranteed level (see the section Boost your income)
- Personal expenses allowance: an amount exempted from income during the financial assessment, to allow for spending on essential personal items (see the section The cost of care)
- Power of Attorney: legal permission for someone to manage the affairs of another when they are no longer able to (see the section Looking ahead)
- Probate: the process of dealing with the estate of someone who has died (see the section Dealing with the death of a loved one)
- Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA): independent regulator for care homes in Northern Ireland (see the section When to consider a care home)
- Residential care home: a care home that doesn’t provide full-time nursing care (see the section When to consider a care home)
- Respite care: a break from the role for a carer. It also describes a person getting specialist short-term care following an illness or operation (see the section Care in the home)
- Savings credit: a type of pension credit for people who have saved some money towards their retirement (see the section Boost your income)
- Sheltered housing: houses or self-contained flats with communal facilities and a warden (see the section Moving out)
- Third-party top-up: voluntary payment to cover the difference between the amount a council is willing to pay to a care home and the fees that the care home charges (see the section The cost of care)