Finding the Care That is Right For You: Information about care services to support older people living in Scotland

Leaflet is for older people seeking information on care and support services.


This leaflet is for all those who may be seeking information on care and support services for older people either for themselves, a friend or relative. It will also be helpful for those providing unpaid care.

Local Authorities (often known as councils) and Health Boards provide care services for older people in their areas, and so practices and services may vary from one part of Scotland to another. Voluntary and private organisations help to support older people too.

This leaflet provides a summary of the services and support that may be available to you - and directs you to Care Information Scotland for much more detailed information on all you need to know about finding the care and support that is right for you, in your own area. Care Information Scotland is a website and helpline.

All the information you need to help you find the care that is right for you can be printed out either directly from the website or by contacting the helpline and asking for information to be sent out to you.

You can access Care Information Scotland at:

or telephone the Helpline on:
08456 001 001

The telephone lines are open from 10am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday. (Calls from a BT landline should cost no more than the price of a local telephone call. Calls from other networks and mobiles may vary.)


Getting started

The first step in finding the right care is to contact your Local Authority for an assessment of your care needs. Care Information Scotland has the information on who to contact in your area. The assessment will identify your needs and help you to decide on the best care for you. Even if you plan to arrange and fund these services yourself, it is still a good idea to get an assessment. That will ensure that all your care needs are identified and that you are aware of any help that may be available to you from your Local Authority or Health Board.

Some of the services that may be available

cartoonCare at Home

Most people want to stay in their home and community and to live as independently as possible. There are services to help you do just that and to get you back to living independently after an incident such as an illness or fall.

If you are assessed as needing some assistance to enable you to continue to live in your own home then there are a wide range of Care at Home services which can support you. Here are some examples, but details of all the services in your area are available from Care Information Scotland:

  • Home Care - sometimes known as 'care at home', 'home help' or 'home support', is care provided in your own home to enable you to maintain independence. It involves regular visits from a home care worker and may include personal care; shopping; preparing meals; collecting pensions and prescriptions etc.
  • Meals Services - sometimes referred to as 'meals on wheels', are prepared meals which can be delivered to you at home if you have difficulty in shopping for food or preparing meals for yourself.
  • Equipment and Adaptations - if you have difficulty with everyday tasks such as moving around your home, getting up and down stairs, or getting in and out of the bath, then you may wish to find out about equipment to assist with mobility or about adaptations to your home.
  • Community Alarm - is a personal alarm system that provides a lifeline between you and people you can rely on, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The alarm is usually set off by pressing the alarm button on your telephone or by pressing a radio button worn on a wristband or pendant.
  • Telecare - the range of equipment and services available to help you to stay in your home with safety and independence has grown in recent years because of new technology, and this is sometimes called telecare. It includes fall detectors, panic buttons and automatic medication management.
  • Day Care - is usually provided in day centres and will help to meet your individual needs by providing you with a range of activities and services such as: help to develop skills to promote your independence; a meal; the opportunity to meet and mix with other people and the choice of taking part in varied activities. Transport may be available to take you to the day centre.
  • Handyperson Services and Care and Repair - many Local Authorities provide a Handyperson Service to carry out small repair jobs. This can be helpful if, for example, you have difficulty using tools or climbing stepladders. This service is sometimes provided through the local Care and Repair Scheme. You may not require an assessment of your care needs for these services.

Supported housing

Supported housing is specially designed accommodation, mainly for people aged 60 or over, which you can buy or rent from providers such as a Local Authority, housing association or a private company. It may also be called 'sheltered housing', 'retirement housing', 'supported living accommodation' or 'housing with care'. Supported housing may be the answer if you want to live independently in a smaller and easier to manage home. Care Information Scotland has details of the supported housing in your area.


Care homes

A care home may be the answer for you if your needs cannot be met by care at home or in supported housing. A care home is a place where people can live in a homely setting and have their care needs met by trained staff. If you have increased care needs for a limited period, your needs may be met by a short stay in a care home rather than on a permanent basis. There are a wide range of care homes. The social or health professionals involved in assessing your care needs can help you to choose the one that's right for you. Care Information Scotland has full details of all care homes in Scotland. It provides links to reports of care home inspections which will help you in your choice.


Support for carers

CartoonA carer is someone of any age, including children and young people under 18, who looks after someone with an illness, disability, infirmity, or addiction, without payment. The care they provide may be full time, part time or just now and then. This is known as 'unpaid care', as opposed to the paid care that is provided by home care workers.

If you provide substantial and regular unpaid care for someone such as a relative, partner or friend, you are entitled to request a Carer's Assessment which should identify the support you need to continue caring. This is separate from the assessment of care needs for the person you care for. Care Information Scotland has the information you need about who to contact to request a Carer's Assessment in your local area. Care Information Scotland has more information on the support that may be available for carers including training, respite care and local carers' centres.

Care charges

There is no charge for some services, for example free personal and nursing care if you are 65 and over and assessed as needing those services. You will probably have to pay a contribution towards the cost of other services or pay the full cost if you can afford to do so. As part of your assessment of care needs your Local Authority will carry out a financial assessment to let you know how much you need to pay towards the cost of your care. Care Information Scotland has full details about free personal and nursing care, care charging and how to get help with paying for care, including how to check that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to.


Self Directed Support

Self Directed Support lets you arrange some or all of your support yourself instead of receiving services arranged by your Local Authority. It is not an additional benefit but a way in which your support is managed. Your Local Authority will either make a Direct Payment to you which you can use to buy services or in some cases will commission services under your direction.

Self Directed Support allows you to receive the support you need from a provider you have chosen, helping to increase the flexibility, choice and personal control of your care arrangements. If you think that Self Directed Support might be for you, Care Information Scotland has more information on how to go about requesting it.

Regulation and quality

The National Care Standards were developed by the Scottish Government to ensure that everyone receives the same high quality of care no matter where they live in Scotland. The standards set out what you can expect from the care services you use.

Up until April 2011, the Care Commission is responsible for registering and inspecting care services in Scotland. From 1 April 2011, Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland ( SCSWIS) will take on responsibility for regulation and inspection of care services and will continue to take account of the National Care Standards in that work.

The Care Information Scotland website provides links to the National Care Standards and inspection reports for care services. Alternatively the Care Information Scotland telephone helpline will help you to obtain a printed copy of the standards or inspection reports that you are interested in.

General information

You can get further detailed information on all aspects of community care for older people from Care Information Scotland:

or telephone the Helpline on:
08456 001 001

The telephone lines are open from 10am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday. (Calls from a BT landline should cost no more than the price of a local telephone call. Calls from other networks and mobiles may vary.)

All the information you need to help you find the care that is right for you can be printed out either directly from the website or by contacting the helpline and asking for information to be sent out to you.

If you have any enquiries about this leaflet please contact:

Directorate for Health and Social Care Integration
Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh EH1 3DG

0131 244 5403

This leaflet may be available in other formats on request to the above address.

To request further copies of this leaflet please contact:

50 Cambuslang Road
Cambuslang Investment Park
Glasgow G32 8NB

Telephone: 0845-370 0067
Fax: 0845-370 0068

Please note that there will be a charge for postage and packaging.

Contact details to pop into your wallet

For the right info on how to get a helping hand for yourself or someone you care for, call or go online.

08456 001 001

Lines open Mon-Fri, 10am-8pm
and Sat, 10am-4pm.


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