Are you a carer?
If you look after a friend or family member who is unable to look after themselves, you are a carer. Caring for someone can be a gradual process, or it can happen suddenly. It can last for a few weeks or several years. It can occupy a few hours each week or 24 hours a day. You might help someone wash or dress themselves. You might drive them to hospital appointments or do their shopping. You may also provide company and emotional support.
What help is available for carers?
You can ask your local social services department for a carer's assessment. This is an assessment of what might make it easier for you to continue caring. You might need practical support, such as helping the person you are caring for to wash. You might want to take a break from caring for a few hours each week. You might also want to plan what would happen to the person you care for in an emergency, such as if you were taken ill. You will probably need to know about lifting and moving the person you care for, what they can eat, the side effects of medication and how to recognise new symptoms. You will also need information about the illness itself.
The aim of the assessment is to make caring easier for you by supporting you and the person you look after. Tell the person carrying out the assessment what would help you, and be honest about the amount of caring you would like to do. The assessment must also take your interests, work and other responsibilities into consideration. Our social work team can support you in preparing for the assessment and advocating on your behalf.
Is there any financial assistance available for carers?
Caring for someone can be expensive. You might find you have extra costs, such as higher heating bills or travel to hospital appointments. You might cut the number hours you work or leave your job. There are many benefits which may be available to you and the person you care for. Most are provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. Our Social Work team can help you look at the benefits that might be available to you.