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Where to start

Where to start
If you're new to services or a caring role, you might not know where to turn.

Care services are available to help people who need support because of illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction.

There are also services available to those who look after a relative or friend, and aren't paid to do so. What a carer does and how much time they spend caring varies from one carer to another.

You may be under 18 and caring for someone.

What your local council can do to help

To find out what help you might need, ask for an assessment of your care needs - also called a care assessment or care needs assessment.

Carers should also get a carer's assessment to assess what help they might need. Both are provided free by your local council's social care department.

The council helps you get the services you need and what you're entitled to get, so you - or the person you care for - can live at home as independently as possible.

Most people have to pay for all or part of their care and support, but the council has a duty to assess your needs and advise you on the local services available. It can't force someone to move out of their home - into a care home, for example - if the person has the ability to make decisions for themselves.

Services provided by the local council might include:

Your rights

You should expect certain standards of care from organisations. The Care Inspectorate make sure these standards are met. There are also ways to complain if you feel the service is below the recommended standard.

If you need care, you have a variety of rights, like your right to have an advocate and protection from harm.

Find out more about your rights as someone needing care.

Support for carers

In addition to a carer's assessment and any services your local council provides, there are many other sources of help for carers, including carers' centres and carers organisations, like:

To find a support group in your area, try Scotland's Service Directory.

Watch this video to find out how Care Information Scotland can help you.

The information was last updated on: 16th January 2023


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You can contact your local council's social care department for a free assessment. Find their details here.

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