Living with an illness or disability

Introduction

If you struggle with some everyday tasks due to an illness, disability or injury, you may need some form of care. Whether the care you need is occasional, regular or constant, there will usually be various different options available to you. This quick guide will help you explore them.

Who might need long-term care?

Anyone may need care at any age. This may be due to physical disability, injury, chronic or acute illness, learning difficulties, or any long- or short-term condition that restricts everyday activities. Any help you might need for these activities is termed ‘care’ – so you can see that ‘care’ might cover many different forms of support.

What forms of care are available?

Good care is always tailored to your needs, so ought to be as unique as you are. Care will usually be available to you in the comfort of your own home (including when you’re out and about), though in some cases it may involve you moving into a specialist residential home so you can be taken care of 24/7. Either way, the important thing is that you receive the care you need and want yourself.

A practical alternative to residential care is to have a number of live-in care workers who stay in your home on a rotating basis, so that you have someone with you all the time.

Care and support is also available for young people with disabilities who want to go on to higher education. Find out more about disability support at university or college.

You can even obtain temporary care if you are going on holiday and need someone to support you while away from home. Find out more about care on holiday.

Homecare for a serious illness

It can be much easier to live with an illness if you are able to stay in your own home. A care worker can help you with everything from getting up, washed and dressed, to taking medicine, dressing wounds and assisting with catheters. They can also help to do your shopping, pick up prescriptions and take you to appointments. 

Homecare for learning difficulties

Homecare can provide much-needed independence to adults with learning difficulties. A care worker can help to manage the tasks that you find difficult, while giving you the space to be your own person.

You can find care workers who specialise in your disability to give exactly the right kind of support, and they can also help with the simple but important things like cooking, cleaning, helping you get exercise, shopping, getting out to see friends and family, and even just providing company if you need it.

You’ll have a specially designed care plan that you help to create, to ensure your needs are met. Find out more about this type of care.

Respite care

A great deal of care in the UK is given not by professionals but by ordinary family members. If you yourself are a carer for a loved one, it’s important that you get regular time off from your responsibilities so that you can relax and unwind.

Even if you don’t think you need a break, carers can become unwell or tired out just like anyone else. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to find a professional care worker to take over from you temporarily. This is known as respite care.

There are many forms of respite care, but the simplest (and usually the most desirable) is to have a homecare worker come and visit. You can find one who meets your exact requirements using the Unbiased search.

Who pays for my care?

If you require care due to a medical condition, you may be entitled to financial help regardless of your personal finances. NHS Continuing Healthcare covers all the costs of your care, if you qualify for it due to your condition and needs .

If you don’t qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare, you may still qualify for Social Services Support depending on your needs and financial circumstances. To find out how much financial support you may be entitled to, you can speak to your doctor or local authority to arrange an assessment. If it turns out you need to fund some or all of your care yourself, it can be very helpful to speak with a financial adviser.

If you are cared for by someone who isn’t acting in their capacity as a professional care worker, such as a family member, they may be able to get financial support. This can pay for equipment to make caring for you easier, or funds to pay for respite care when they need it.

Finding a good care worker

When you need care, it’s important to be able to find a compassionate professional who makes you feel at ease. You can check out any care provider on the website of the regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Unbiased will only connect you with homecare agencies that have a good or outstanding rating from the CQC.

Let us match you to your perfect care provider