Practical Support

There are a lot of schemes to help you and your family. We’ve picked out a few here that crop up time and again for carers.

Practical Support

The Bedfordshire & Luton Directory: Adult Care and Support Services provides full details of organisations providing paid care. You can get a paper copy from Bedford Borough Council (01234 267 422) or Central Bedfordshire Council (0300 300 8303) or the Carers in Bedfordshire office.

Care Choices has written a Home Care Checklist with a list of questions you can ask when considering which company to use.

Local respite options

Age UK Bedfordshire runs a fee-based Carers Respite Service. You can pay for it yourself or apply for a Needs/Carers Assessment.

There are a number of Good Neighbour Schemes throughout the county who offer a sitting service by a volunteer. Ring Carers in Bedfordshire (0300 111 1919) for details.

For those who have a life-limiting condition, a sitting service is organised by Hospice at Home & Respite at Home Volunteers.

For carers of those under 25 years:
Bedford Borough Bedford Local Offer
Central Beds Special Educational Needs and Disability – Local Offer | Central Bedfordshire Council

For adults:
Bedford Borough have various community directories Adult social care community directory · Bedford Borough Council
Central Beds Adults and older people | Central Bedfordshire Council

National respite options

We know respite and navigating the system is complex for carers. We are talking to the local councils to make this better for carers. In the meantime, there are many national services which offer holidays, breaks, trips abroad, outdoor activities, financial help and information that can help you in your journey. Find out more at:
National breaks for carers and those they care for
National Respite Centre

Paying for care

This can either be done privately or through the local councils.  If you need support with costs then you need to contact the local councils for a Getting a Carers and Needs Assessment.

Legal & General offer carers a free consultation to help you find and pay for care – visit the Legal & General website or contact 0800 086 9071 for further information.

Age UK gives a number of ideas on how to adapt a home.  The local councils can help with any major adaptations that might be needed (subject to eligibility).  See Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council.  Age UK Bedfordshire offers a handyperson service  to help with small DIY jobs.

It might be a good idea to put up a key safe outside the front door in case the person you care for cannot come to the front door.  Age UK Bedfordshire supply and fit key safes (there is a cost). Contact on 01234 360 510.

If you are worried about home security, then contact the Bobby Scheme on 01234 842 619. They will carry out a home visit and make recommendations on how to improve the security of a home.

If you are concerned about a person’s safety in the home you might find that Telecare will provide peace of mind. 

A carer would like to share her experience of her husband’s discharge home from hospital and has put together some tips. She hopes others will benefit from these and avoid the pitfalls she encountered.

Standard hospital bed 

If the cared for person is over 5ft 7ins, check that an extension can be fitted before they are discharged as they can’t be in the bed when this is fitted. This will avoid a delay unless they can sit in a chair for a short time.  

Mattress and bedding 

A ripple mattress can prevent or reduce bed sores. 

Slide or Wendylett sheets make it easier to move the person. 

Avoid fitted sheets. A double flat bed sheet is much easier to change and will cover the mattress better than a standard single. On the other hand, if the bed has loops on either side to help them move, a double quilt or blanket will get in the way. 

It’s useful to have five pillows to keep them comfortable but you won’t need them all the time. 

You might want to get an over the bed table so meals and drinks are closer to hand. 

Keep documents on a clipboard at the end of the bed eg telephone numbers, DNR instructions (Do Not Resuscitate) so they are easily accessible in case of emergency 


Personal care items 

  • Bowl – for washing 
  • Shower gel/Soap 
  • At least 2 flannels (lots are a good idea) 
  • Small light towels 
  • Larger towels (not too big or heavy though) 
  • Wet wipes/dry wipes. 
  • Barrier cream 
  • Moisturizing cream 
  • Small mug for cleaning teeth 
  • Plenty of Bin Bags 

Check out our financial support page which details: 

  • Carer benefits 
  • Help with utility payments and council tax
  • Broadband and telephone costs
  • Free Boiler Scheme, Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation
  • Energy Saving Advice
  • Age UK Free Home Energy Check
  • Carers in Bedfordshire Help and Support

What you would do if you cannot continue caring due to an accident or ill-health? It’s worth taking some time out to give this some thought and give you peace of mind.

To help we have created an Emergency Plan booklet for you to fill in. If you would like some help, you can talk to a Support Worker.

You can also

  1. Keep an ICE record on your phone stating that you are a carer and the name and address of the person you care for. To read more.
  2. Keep a Carers Emergency Card in your purse/wallet – available from Central Bedfordshire Council
  3. Keep a Message in the Bottle in your fridge (available from Carers in Bedfordshire or Central Bedfordshire Council)

If  your surgery knows you are a carer, they can help you. It’s a great idea to register as a carer with your GP.

If your doctor knows you are a carer, they can ask you about any physical or mental health issues you may have because of caring. And the practice can try to be more flexible in terms of finding you appointments, etc.

If your doctor and surgery know you are a carer they can:

  • support you with any physical health issues related to your caring role, like tiredness
  • make you aware of the carer’s flu jab each year
  • talk to you about your mental health and the impact of your caring role
  • provide you with general information and advice
  • refer you to helpful organisations and services that can improve your caring situation
  • give you flexible appointments at times that suit you
  • refer you for a Carer’s grant payment if your caring role is impacting your health, potentially meaning you can take a break.