A carer is someone who cares and supports someone who wouldn’t be able to manage without their help.
Unpaid carers who look after family, friends or neighbours are not the same as paid care workers or staff employed by health, social services, voluntary or private agencies.
Lots of information about carers is available at the Dewis website. It can tell you about:
- your legal rights as a carer
- your right to a carer’s needs assessment
- benefits and financial help
- learning new skills to help you in your caring role
- balancing employment and caring
- planning for emergencies
Recognising yourself as a carer
An unpaid carer is someone who helps another person to live independently at home.
The person you are looking after might be your mother or father, your husband or wife, a friend or partner, brother or sister, your daughter or son, or even an elderly neighbour.
Some carers are looking after more than one person. They could be caring for an elderly parent and a disabled child or a partner with a long-term condition and a friend.
You don’t have to be living in the same house to be someone’s carer. Perhaps you pop in several times a day to help them get up, have something to eat or take their medication. You might be caring for more than one person this way or you might be helping someone else to care for one person.
Carers are not paid and their role should not be confused with the (paid) care workers who are often involved in someone’s care.
Don’t be a ‘hidden’ carer
It’s important to identify yourself as a carer because the status gives you additional legal rights and entitlements and will help you get the support you need.
Tell your GP and your employer that you are a carer. It is important in the event of an emergency.
The right to support
No-one would expect you to fulfil your caring responsibilities without any support.
Being someone’s carer can be very rewarding. It can also be demanding and exhausting, especially if the cared-for person requires round-the-clock care, due to dementia, a physical or learning disability, mental health condition or a long-term condition.
If we know you are caring for someone, we have a duty to offer you a free carer’s needs assessment to find out if you are able and willing to continue in your caring role and what support you need.
Caring for someone is not easy and it’s important that you seek support before you reach crisis point or there is an emergency.