Rights and redress

Most of us don't want to do battle at a time when we feel vulnerable or under stress. Conflicts may arise when arranging help or care for an older person during of after an emergency, when everyone involved is stressed. So how to get what you are entitled to without creating extra difficulties?

Care

If you need care, you are generally entitled to a free professional assessment of your needs by your local council, and either a detailed plan for the services it will provide to meet them, or an explanation of why it will not. If the assessment advises moving to a care home, you have the choice whether to follow this advice. If you do decide to move, you have some choice about the home even if the council is helping pay the fees. Carers are generally entitled to an assessment of their need for help or support, quite independently of the person they care for.

National standards apply to care at home or in a care home, and provide grounds for any complaint about the services you receive.

More about your care rights

Housing

If you buy a retirement property you will normally have specific rights spelt out in your Lease in addition to those that apply to all property buyers. In managed retirement complexes, you will usually have additional protection under a Code of Practice adopted by most management organisations in England.

You have the right to apply for housing from your local council regardless of your circumstances, and a right to information on where you stand in priority for an offer. If you are already a council or housing association tenant and want to move, you generally have the right to exchange homes with another tenant but no automatic right to help from your landlord in arranging a move. Renting privately usually offers only limited security of tenure.

More about your housing rights

Finance

If you have been assessed by your local council as in need of help or care, you have the right to a financial assessment to determine whether it will help towards the costs. For care at home, you have the right to ask for the council's contribution in cash and arrange the care yourself. If you are unhappy with a local council decision, you have the right to challenge it.

If you are funding your care yourself and consult an independent financial advisor, the service they provide is tightly regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and any complaints you have can ultimately be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

More about your rights in relation to financial advice

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