TL:DR - how much supervision overnight is enough to entitle you to the higher rate of AA?
My dad has been in receipt of the lower rate of AA for a few years now due to mobility issues, Parkinsons, vascular disease etc. He is also severely hard of hearing but lived pretty much independently. Just before Christmas he went totally blind within a couple of weeks and spent 25 days in hospital. We were told he needed 24/7 care because he couldn’t do anything for himself. The hospital were so short staffed that he rarely got out of bed, went without food (as they couldn’t feed him) & stopped drinking because he couldn’t get himself to the loo. He was SO weak & frail that I feared his only option was a care home. He came out for a few hours on Christmas Day and we were all exhausted afterwards because his care needs were so intense.
Imagine our surprise when the care package offered was 4 visits of 30-60 minutes! Thankfully I had seen messages on here not to allow us to get sucked into filling the gaps & ‘coping’ and to fight for proper care BEFORE he was sent home and they realised a live in carer would be needed. This is funded through the NHS but only for 4 weeks.
He will be totally self funding as he is over the savings threshold and after 10 days at home he is already SO much stronger, confident and mobile. He is adapting to his sight loss a bit although it’s tricky with his hearing loss and other co-morbidities. We are hoping that by the time the NHS care ends, we can manage at least most of his needs between myself (mostly) and my brother. However, if he continues to need care overnight it throws a very different light on things. He can currently get himself to the loo and back in the night but does sometimes lose his way (and need the carer to intervene) and he does bump around a lot but hopefully this is a learning curve. We’re currently looking into different tech to monitor his movements and alert us if / when needed (day and night), but does this count as supervision during the night for the purposes of AA? We’d be constantly on call and automatically alerted rather than 2 physical checks but I do get up twice a night anyway so could easily make a manual check on the monitors. Does anyone know if tech counts as supervision please? Thanks.
Supervision is usually a watching eye needing to be checked through the night.
I think using equipment is open to debate. Have a word with Age UK
If your condition changes
If you receive lower rate AA and your condition changes, so you think
you may qualify for the higher rate, you can contact the DWP and ask for
your claim to be looked at again. Write to the DWP at the address on
your award letter or telephone the AA helpline. You must complete a new
claim form with details of how your needs have changed. You must satisfy the conditions for six months to get high rate AA. If your
needs increase and you tell the DWP within a month of completing the
six-month qualifying period for the higher rate, the increase is paid from
the date you notified the change. In some circumstances, you can ask
for the one-month time limit to be extended to a maximum of 13 months
– seek advice if this applies.
You can also notify the DWP about the change before the six-month
period has lapsed but payment of a higher rate can only happen after the
six-month qualifying period. Asking for your award to be looked at again does not mean your current
award is guaranteed, so seek advice if you are unsure.
Would it be SAFE to leave him completely alone at night?
From what you describe, the answer would be NO. Hence he should have highest rate AA in my view.
Talk to our helpline, and get the formal words you need.
The simple answer is no, he wouldn’t be safe. I keep re-reading the wording on the website! It’s about what you NEED not what you have. So he NEEDS someway of being supervised overnight, but not immediately on hand if that makes sense? On the rare occasion he needed emergency help he has a carelink type thing but it’s more the disorientation side of things. My brother is about 15 mins away and I’m a good 25 minutes at night so we’d need some way of communicating with him to steer him back in the right direction, doubly tricky when he won’t have his hearing aids in at night!
Maybe I’m wrong, but my understanding of the carelink thingy is that it doesn’t have to be an emergency ,emergency eg a fall for it to be used, but maybe I’m wrong as we’ve (Dad) only ever used it when he’s fallen, but I would’ve thought he could use it if he got disorientated at night. Maybe (because he won’t have his hearing aids in) you can try and teach him to use his fingers/hands to feel his way along the wall by using some sort of rough material on the walls?
Alternatively, he could use a urinal during the night, so he doesn’t have to walk anywhere.
Have you been in touch with any of the charities and has he had an OT home assessment ?
The Adult Social Care person is coming out next week to assess him and we’ve already had input from the Sensory Loss Team who is in touch with the OT. Because he went blind so fast and currently has a temp carer, the main issue was getting him able to communicate / have some joy so we’ve not got onto independent living as yet. They wanted to see how he would be managing after a couple of weeks back at home. So far he seems to be managing to get to the loo and back but because, like everyone, his BP drops a bit overnight he can get a bit dizzy but he’s never fallen (unless there was something else going on). He couldn’t hear the care line operators so they would automatically contact his neighbour who is on his list so I guess I need to chat to him and see if he’s still willing to be that person, with the caveat that he might get called more often. We’re looking at options of Dad moving much closer to us so that I would be the person they called anyway but it’s not a quick fix. It never is is it?!