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What is social care?

'Social care' is the general term used to refer to the extra support or care needed to carry out daily tasks at home.

This extra help includes:

  • help at home with simple tasks like shopping, laundry and cleaning
  • intensive home care such as washing, dressing and preparing a meal
  • 24-hour care in a care home or a housing with care scheme (also known as sheltered accommodation).

The two most important things to be aware of

  1. No social care is free. The amount you pay depends on the level of need and the amount of assets you have.
  2. You should get an assessment of needs from your local council immediately. This helps to mark the level of your need and can be reassessed again at a later date.

Where do I start?

Your first port of call should be your Local Authority (via Gov UK) - contact its social services department or contact centre to arrange that assessment of needs.

Each local authority will have its own assessment procedure, information about this should be available on their website.

Local authorities will also provide an up-to-date list of local providers and can signpost to services. You should always be offered information and advice to help you understand the social care system, regardless of whether or not you are eligible for services.

Contact your local authority

Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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