Personal Budgets can help provide choice and control for people with dementia, which is a legal right. Following the Care Act 2014, personalisation is a key part of the social care agenda.
We’ve developed a dementia friendly personal budget charter that local authorities can sign up to, in order to show their commitment to making the personal budgets system more accessible and dementia friendly.
Local authorities can also access on-going support via our Personal Choice Network. This includes regular e-bulletins, webinars, toolkits and self-assessment tools as well as access to a wider network of professionals all working to support better implementation of personalisation for people with dementia.
To become part of the network and receive news, please join our Personal Choice Network mailing list.
What is a personal budget?
A personal budget is "money that is allocated to a person by their local council to pay for care or support to meet their assessed needs. The money comes solely from adult social care. A person can take their personal budget as a direct payment, or choose to leave the council to arrange services (sometimes known as a managed budget) - or a combination of the two. An alternative is an individual service fund, which is a personal budget that a care provider manages on the person's behalf"(Think Local Act Personal (TLAP)).
Why do personal budgets work for people with dementia?
Personal budgets work for people with dementia, as they provide people living with dementia choice, control and independence. Personal budgets allow people to receive dementia specific services at an earlier stage and enable people to tailor services to their particular needs.
Robert Stephens, who manages a personal budget for his wife Geraldine, said:
‘The budget has had a really positive effect on Gerry's life. We are in total control over who comes in and out of the house.’
However the process of acquiring a personal budget can be confusing for everyone, and in particular when it does not meet the needs of a person with dementia.
Elaine Fawcett, who manages a personal budget for her dad, described her experience as:
"...horrendous. There was no consistency with the staff, notes were being taken and not written up or passed on - I really felt like we were forgotten about [...]. If I wasn't there to look after the personal budget for Dad, there's no way he could do it. There isn't enough support for people with dementia and it's a lot for them to take on."
What barriers do people affected by dementia face?
Through our research, we have found that people with dementia face several with dementia face several barriers when trying to access personal budgets.
In order to make personal budgets more accessible to people with dementia and their carers, local authorities need to address:
- Communication: people with dementia and their carers need clear and concise information about the personal budget options available to them.
- Process: people with dementia need clear and simple assessments, systems and processes to access personal budgets.
- Finance: the amount the local authority calculates for the personal budget must be sufficient to meet the person's needs.
- Understanding dementia: it is vital that professionals fully understand how to include people with dementia and their carers in the personal budgets system.
- Understanding the personalisation agenda: people with dementia and their carers need to be able to speak with people who have in-depth knowledge of personalisation in order to make the right decisions about personal budgets.
Working with local authorities
Alzheimer's Society is working with local authorities that have signed up to the Personal Budget Charter and is supporting them to implement the recommendations in our accompanying guide.
If you are a local authority and would like to find out more, be one of the first to sign up to the charter, please contact the Stakeholder Relations team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to our Personal Choice Network mailing list to access ongoing news and support to help you implement the principles of our the charter.