Social care is the name for help people get when they cannot do things for themselves which most people do. It includes getting out of bed, getting dressed, washing, eating and moving about and staying safe. People who need social care include hospital patients who need help after an operation, people with physical or learning disabilities who want to live independently at home, and young people from difficult families and children in foster care.
This sort of help is mostly done by families, and mostly by women. In the past a lot was done by religious people. Workhouses and hospitals were often full of people who needed social care and had nobody to look after them. As medicine developed social care became more separate. Payment for health care is often different from payments for health care. There may be argument about who should pay. Care for old people near the end of life is very different from care for children and young people. Private insurance is not very successful. Not everyone needs social care and young people are reluctant to take out insurance. Germany and Japan have set up systems which try to balance society’s and a individual responsibilities.
Local governments in many countries set up large homes for old people. People with mental illness or learning difficulty often lived in big hospitals for years. These institutions have mostly closed and now more people get help in their own homes or in group homes. They may pay for it, or in a welfare state it may be free. More people need social care as more people live to be old and people survive with conditions which in earlier times would have meant an early death.
Social workers are employed to make decisions about the help people need if the government is paying. The people who are paid do this work may be called care workers. They are mostly women and the pay is low. People often leave for better paid work in retail. 
- "Social care funding: complex but not impossible". The Nuffield Trust. 2021-08-02. Retrieved 2023-02-02.
- "Adult social care - 10 Key Facts". Institute for Government. Retrieved 2023-02-02.
- Lloyd, Gemma (2023-02-02). "Carers say the 'worst thing' about their job is that they can get paid more in 'Lidl or Aldi', research finds". Retrieved 2023-02-02.
- Lloyd, Gemma (2022-11-09). "Guernsey government admits plans to reduce care services due to "intense pressure"". Retrieved 2023-02-07.