Carers provide unpaid support for family or friends who couldn’t manage without their assistance.

Here you can find advice for carers plus information on the local support available provided by local authorities, the Integrated Care Board (ICB) and local voluntary groups all working together.

What is a carer?

A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to family or friends who couldn’t manage without this help due to illness, disability, mental ill-health or a substance misuse problem.

Being identified as a carer is important because it can help you get the extra support you need. There’s no need for you to struggle alone.

A carer might be:

  • an adult caring for a relative with a long-term condition such as dementia
  • a young carer (under 18) who cares for a family member in a role normally expected of an adult
  • or a parent carer of a disabled child.

You may be balancing your caring role with work, school or raising a child, and the care you give will vary in its nature and amount. The person you care for may be a family member or a friend, and they may or may not live with you.

You may be eligible to receive a carer’s allowance, or a direct payment for a service that helps you to manage your role, without this affecting your status as a carer.

If you’re employed as a carer, or working for a voluntary organisation unpaid, you’re not entitled to carers’ support.

How to access support

Tell your GP

They will record that you’re caring for someone and offer support and advice, and more flexible appointments. Because caring for others can be demanding, remember to discuss your own health and emotional needs. You may be eligible for a flu jab or a health check, but if you are not on their carers register they may not offer these services.

Getting help and staying connected

Carers who provide care on a regular and substantial basis have a legal right to an assessment of their own needs. It’s a chance for you to discuss and identify the help you need in order to balance caring with your own needs. This might include having a short break away, joining a gym or taking up a hobby, or getting equipment or a service that makes caring easier.

Find out if you are eligible for an assessment of your needs as a carer by contacting:

Carers Emergency Card

The Carers Emergency Card is also available for people who care for adults or children. It is a free service that can provide up to 72 hours of emergency support to the person cared for in the event of their carer having an accident or emergency.

Carers carry a card which shows their name and a unique identification number. If they have an accident or are taken seriously ill, anyone who finds them can call the emergency phone number on the front of the card. The emergency response team will then react to ensure the person cared for continues to receive the care they need.

Register for a Carers Emergency Card in:

If you’re a young carer, speak to your teacher or school nurse. They will be able to refer you for an assessment.

Share information with health and social care professionals

If the person you care for is in hospital, tell staff that you’re their carer and share information about the person you care for. Link workers can help support you during their hospital stay.

If you’re going to hospital with someone with dementia, find more help at the Alzheimer’s Society.

Contact support organisations

Access to information, financial support and breaks in caring help you to manage the impact of caring on your own life. To find out more, please contact the following organisations:

Legal affairs

If you are a carer, you may need to become a court appointed deputy or make a lasting power of attorney.

A deputy is someone appointed by the Court of Protection. You make decisions for someone who is unable to do so on their own until either that person dies or is able to make decisions on their own again.

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf.

Care UK has useful information about becoming a deputy and making a lasting power of attorney.