Support for someone else

How do I get support for someone else?

Supporting someelse

Lots of people find themselves in the situation where they are worried about someone, but the other person thinks they are fine or won’t agree to get support. These are our tips on what you can do.

  • Several shorter conversations that work up to a difficult topic might be easier for the other person (and for you) than one big conversation.
  • Give the other person time. Recognise it is probably difficult for them. See our tips on what someone can do when they find it difficult to talk about getting support or to plan ahead. Click to link to page.
  • It can help to involve someone else who you both trust but who is a bit more objective or not so emotionally involved. It could be a friend or neighbour, or someone like a cousin.
  • Try to focus on what could be the positive aspects and benefits for the person – having more time to enjoy things they did before, seeing friends again – rather than on the things they can’t do.
  • Sometimes ordinary examples and ordinary solutions are a good starting point – such as getting taxis because that’s easier than parking in town (rather than talking about getting taxis because the person can’t walk as far as before).
  • Try starting with something small and practical, even if you think the person needs more support than that. Once that is working OK they may be more willing to consider some more support.
  • It might help to be around when someone comes to talk to the person about support. Or it might help if you are definitely NOT there. The main thing is to go with what works best for this person.
  • Local authorities do have responsibilities to act if someone is vulnerable (which includes people who are older and people with disabilities) and is at risk of being harmed.
  • Local authorities cannot intervene if the person is not at risk and they don’t want to have contact.
  • Council staff have to respect each person’s confidentiality. They will talk to you about someone else if the other person says that is OK.  Someone from the Council will have an initial conversation with both of you and get it recorded if you are the one dealing with emails or phone calls.
  • It often helps if the person’s notes refer to you as their carer, even if you don’t think of yourself that way.
  • Try to be around or be in touch more often. Try to find out how other people find your Mum (or whoever it is). You might be seeing them at a bad time and they are more OK than you think. Or they may be having more problems. Either way, it is good to get a second perspective. If you do want to talk it over with a social worker or someone else, it will help to have more information and examples.
  • The Act against Harm website explains about different types of harm and risk and gives useful advice and information.
  • Carers’ Centres or support projects often have good information and advice for people who are worried about someone they care about.


Good sources of information

Adult protection:

Scope of the Social Care law in Scotland: see the Scottish Government SDS website:

Carers UK:


You might find this part of this site useful

Making decisions for others


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