A Carer is anybody who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty or disability. All the care they give is unpaid.
Many carers don’t see themselves as carers. It takes carers an average of two years to acknowledge their role as a carer. It can be difficult for carers to see their caring role as separate from the relationship they have with the person they care for, whether they are a parent, son, daughter, sibling or friend.
Why carers need your support
The responsibilities and demands of being a carer can often mean that carers overlook their own health and wellbeing. Carers need good sources of help, support and information as they are often focused solely with the health and wellbeing of the person they care for. The practice offer Annual Health Checks for patients who are registered as Carers with us. Please contact our Reception Team for further details.
Many people do not see themselves as carers. They simply may think of themselves as a friend or family of the person they care for. It is because of this that they often don’t realise there is help available to them as well. Such help could include:
- direct payments
- home care
- housing adaptations
- funding for short breaks or respite
Informing carers of the help they may be entitled to can be a great relief to them. Getting the contact details of your local social services or local authority for a carer can be one major stepping stone for them to get the help and support they need.
Health and wellbeing
Some carers can suffer from poor health because of the demands of their caring role. For example, back pain can result from lifting or moving the person being cared for. It may also be difficult to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine while caring. Without the right support, being a carer can be an extremely stressful role.
One of the best ways that carers can get help is for their needs to be assessed by the local authority. A carer’s assessment enables the carer and the local authority to see what support is necessary for the carer.
You could also help by finding out information and guidance on caring and discuss this with or pass it on to the carers you know. This may help them to relieve some of the pressures of trying to juggle caring with running their day-to-day lives.
There is a lot of information available to carers, but they may not be aware of where to find it. Here are some sources of information and support for carers:
- the Carers Direct helpline on 0808 802 0202 provides free, confidential information and guidance on a number of topics and carers can also email queries to helpline advisers
- local carers’ centres, such as those run by the Carers Trust
- local voluntary organisations with services for carers and the people they care for, for example Carers Hub Age UK, Mind, Citizens Advice Bureau
- national caring organisations such as Carers UK and Contact A Family
You can find contact details for local and national carers support services in our directory of local carers’ services. You can access this online using the postcode search on the right hand side of the page. Alternatively, you can call the Carers Direct helpline on 0808 802 0202 and ask one of our advisors for details of appropriate support.
You could also contact local carers organisations asking them to send any leaflets, pamphlets or posters they may have to display in your place of work.
The Carers Direct website also provides information on how to keep healthy and look after yourself if you are a carer. It also has information on how carers can stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally.
Working with carers
About one in ten people is a carer. If you work, you are likely to be working alongside carers. If you are an employer or work in a personnel or human resources department, you need to be aware of the rights carers have in the workplace. To find out more about carers at work see carers in the workplace.
Carers Direct also has information if you deal with carers as part of your role at work. We have information that can help:
- teachers and lecturers
- health and social care professionals
- police and prison officers
- borders and immigration officials