Need help at home?

Most people would like to stay living safely at home and retain their independence for as long as possible. If you want to remain independent and stay in your own home there are a variety of ways to manage this. For example if you have problems getting around your home there are items of equipment or minor adaptations that can make life easier.  You may also need help with personal care, meals or household tasks. 

Assistive technology is sometimes referred to as Technology enabled Care (TEC) which supports people to lead healthier lifestyles.

Technology enabled care (TEC) includes telehealth, telecare, telemedicine, telecoaching and self-care services that put people in control of their own health, wellbeing and support, keeping them safe, well and independent and offering them and their families peace of mind.

Examples of some equipment/assistive technology you might need:

  • Help raising an alarm in an emergency, such as a pendant alarm, a belt or watch
  • Sensors in pressure mats, could be placed beside a bed, chair or door and send an alert to a monitoring centre if you get out of bed and don't return
  • Sensors to switch off gas
  • An additional stair rail to help you get up and down the stairs safely
  • A grab handle to hold onto when getting in and out of your home
  • Chair raisers to take the strain out of sitting down or getting up from your chair
  • A shower stool to sit on while bathing

Some of these options require either a family member/ friend or a response service to be able to respond when contacted by the control centre.

Difficulty deciding what is the right equipment whatever your needs, telecare, smart technology for the home.  Find out on the 'Later Life Care' website.

Assistive technology and how it could help someone with dementia.  Advice and information provided by the Alzheimer’s Society.  Find out what is available and the best solution for your situation.


There are a number of free self care ‘apps’ you can download to your smartphone or tablet which can give you advice and help with a number of Health and Wellbeing issues?

Visit the NHS ‘digital tools’ page, where you can see what is available, and download appropriate apps to your own device.


Links to various organisations can be found in the Assistive Technology section in this Directory.

Could assistive technology, telecare and telehealth help me to remain independent at home?

Assistive technology can help people to live more independently by using devices and sensors to help with everyday tasks, such as reminding people to take medication or to turn the off the oven.

There is a wide range of devices and services available that can help to support people at home, provide reassurance to carers and reduce accidents and falls in the home, amongst other things.

Telecare services do not rely on a user pressing a pendant to raise an alarm, but offer a range of sensors that will automatically raise an alarm in the event of an emergency.  Telecare is a service that provides sensors and monitors (e.g. motion or falls detectors) often linked to community alarm systems that trigger a warning at a control centre that can be responded to within defined timescales.  These options require either a family member/ friend or a response service to be able to respond when contacted by the control centre.

Assistive Technology (AT) consists of ‘stand alone’ pieces of equipment (not connected to a monitoring/response service) such as simple mobile phones, bath plugs that reduce the risk of scalding and flooding, remote control for electrical items in the home, automatic pill dispensers etc.

Both Telecare and Assistive Technology can be purchased privately or recommended through adult social care if the person is eligible for a funded service.  Alternatively, your local NHS trust may pay for a telecare system as part of a continuing healthcare or intermediate care package, if you are eligible. NHS - Carers direct guide

Telehealth typically involves electronic sensors or equipment that monitors vital health signs remotely from home or while on the move.  If you think telehealth would be beneficial please speak to your GP.

If you are not eligible for financial help from West Berkshire Council and you wish to make your own arrangements you will find a list of providers in the personal alarms/telecare or assistive technology listings under the ‘Need help at home? category.

Falls Prevention – Practical advice and guidance to prevent falls in your home

From the age of 50, we start to lose muscle and bone strength and balance and one in three people aged 65 and over, fall each year.  Therefore it is important that we are aware of the different things that can cause falls in and outside the home and what we can do to keep fit and healthy. Find helpful advice and guidance on West Berkshire Council's webpage.


Find out if you are eligible for support from West Berkshire Council

We use the information from your assessment to decide if you qualify for support under the Care Act 2014. This means that there is a level of need at which we will offer support - it is now set by the government.  

You will be eligible if you have a physical or mental condition that has a significant impact on your wellbeing. 

You must also be unable to achieve at least two of the following:

  • Feed yourself

  • Maintain personal hygiene (keeping clean)

  • Manage toilet needs

  • Be appropriately clothed

  • Stay safe in your own home

  • Manage the housework in your home

  • See and keep in touch with friends and family and meet new friends

  • Work, volunteer or do education and training you may need

  • Make use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport, and recreational facilities or services

  • Carry out any caring responsibilities you have for a child

Further information about eligibility is available on the Social Care Institute for excellence (scie) website.

If you are assessed as having eligible needs

We will work with you to identify solutions and agree the things we need to do to meet your requirements. We will agree the steps with you and write them down in a detailed Care and Support plan for you. 

Social care is not automatically provided for free, unlike health care.  Following your Care and Support Needs Assessment, you'll be offered a financial assessment along with advice about any welfare benefits that could be available to you to help pay for your care.

How much you have to pay towards the cost depends upon your personal financial circumstances only, and does not include those of your partner.

Some people pay the standard charge for the service they receive, whilst others pay a part of the cost, and some make no financial contribution at all.  Read the additional information in the next section 'Will I have to pay for care and support?'

If you are not eligible

If you are not assessed as having an eligible need, we will still provide information, advice and agree any preventative actions to help you remain independent. This might include putting you in touch with other services, organisations and support groups.

You may find the information you require looking through the sections within this directory.

How can I get an assessment of my social care needs?

If you are unable to find your own support or you are struggling to remain independent, West Berkshire Council may be able to provide support for you.

Arranging an assessment

Contact Adult Social Care to request an assessment on 01635 503050 or complete the online Adult Social Care enquiry form.

Before we can work out the best way forward in your situation, a member of the Adult Social Care team will talk to you to understand what you want and need.  This may involve a discussion about resources in your community that might be helpful for you. It will also look at your strengths, things you can still do independently, and things where your family, carers or wider community can help you.

If you are unable to tell us what you need, have communication difficulties or have no-one else to support you we will arrange for an independent advocate to help you through the process and share your views. 

Will I have to pay for care and support?

Social care is not automatically provided for free, unlike health care.  Following your Care and Support Needs Assessment, you will be offered a financial assessment along with advice about any welfare benefits that could be available to you to help pay for your care.

How much you pay depends on your income and outgoings. West Berkshire Council will also look at the amount of savings you have.

If you have more than £23,250 in savings and capital, you will have to pay the full cost of any support you require. You can still ask for an assessment of your care needs but you will not qualify for any funded support from West Berkshire Council.

Further information on Paying for your care is available under the 'Looking for help with your finances? section within this directory.

What happens if my needs change, are they reviewed?

We will carry out a review of your needs and the support put in place after approximately 6 weeks and then you will be reviewed annually. Further information regarding the review process is available in the Service Provision Review Information Pack.

If your circumstances change you can request a review by contacting Adult Social Care on 01635 503050 or complete the online Adult Social Care enquiry form.


Will West Berkshire Council provide me with a wheelchair?

West Berkshire Council do not carry out assessments to provide wheelchairs.  Referrals to the Wheelchair Clinic must be completed by a Consultant, GP or registered Health Care Professional.  The Clinic does not accept self-referrals.  The wheelchair service will only provide wheelchairs to users who are unable to mobilise and who require the wheelchair indoors.  Wheelchairs will not be provided for outdoor use only or for portering in nursing/residential homes.  West Berkshire Wheelchair Service, Royal Berkshire Hospital, call: 0118 322 6706

For short term loan or to privately purchase a wheelchair view the information listed in the ‘Wheelchair’ category.

What is Reablement (Homesafe/Home Improvement Service) and how do I receive it?

Working with people to regain independence within their own home and community.

Sometimes due to an accident, illness or following a stay in hospital or simply growing older, people can struggle with daily activities or feel unsafe at home. 

We believe that for many of these people a short, intensive period of help and support to do all or some of the things they used to do, can make a huge difference to their quality of life.

The Homesafe/Improvement Care service is available for a period of up to 6 weeks.

Contact Adult Social Care on 01635 503050 where a care worker will talk through your daily life and anything you may be struggling with to see if you are eligible for support or complete the online Adult Social Care enquiry form.

Further information is available on West Berkshire Council's webpage.

What is the Priority Services Register?

The priority services register (PSR) is a free and voluntary system that your energy supplier uses to ensure the correct support is given to its most vulnerable customers.  This includes families with children aged five or younger who are automatically considered among the core group to receive available support.  You will need to contact your energy supplier and register.  Each energy supplier and network operator maintains its own register. You will receive advice on a range of helpful and accessible services.  

Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) 0800 072 72 82 where you will receive priority help in the event of a power cut if you rely on electricity for medical equipment.

Visit the British Gas website to check you are eligible

Power cut – Call 105

How do I return loaned equipment?

Equipment provided through West Berkshire Council is on loan to you, so when it is no longer required, it has to be returned.  Look for a label on the equipment itself or check on the paperwork which will have been delivered with the equipment.  If you cannot find a contact number, please use the contact details below:

For equipment including beds, hoists, bathing equipment, raised toilet seats, commodes etc call NRS Healthcare on 0844 893 6960

Back to top of page